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GENEVA (15 November 2018) - UN human rights experts have taken the unprecedented step of suspending an official visit to Hungary after they were denied access to the Röszke and Tompa “transit zones” at the border with Serbia where migrants and asylum seekers, including children, are deprived of their liberty.
GENEVA (9 November 2018) - A delegation of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will visit Hungary from 12 to 16 November 2018 to follow up on its 2013 recommendations*, while continuing its engagement with the Government on addressing issues of deprivation of liberty in the country.
During the mission, human rights experts Ms. Elina Steinerte (Latvia) and Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin), will also assess the steps taken to achieve compliance with the recommendations made by the expert group in the past five years.
In response to measures imposed by the Hungarian government that attempt to crack down on civil society individuals or organisations that purportedly “promote illegal migration”, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) and the Open Society Foundation (OSF) have both announced that they are filing cases against the Hungarian government at the European Court of Human Rights.
In good news for the rule of the law in Europe, this week the European Parliament acted against Hungary for its multiple breaches of European values, with its Resolution on the report prepared by MEP Judith Sargentini. Despite uncertainty in the run-up to the vote, in the end it was decisive: 448 for the motion (65%), 197 against (28%), and 28 abstentions (7%). Sargentini, whose report was thorough and well-substantiated, received a standing ovation.
The Hungarian authorities have given up the practice of denying food to asylum seekers whose claims are considered inadmissible. A statement from the ECRE member the Hungarian Helsinki Committee is welcoming the change of practice but underlines that without legislative changes, asylum seekers can still be deprived of food any time.
GENEVA (21 June 2018) –UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has condemned the decision by the Hungarian Parliament to pass legislation that criminalizes individuals and groups deemed to be supporting asylum-seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants.
“The make-up of migrants and the migration routes they are choosing have both changed”, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister György Bakondi highlighted on Hungarian M1 television’s Wednesday evening current affairs program.
During the “peak” in 2015 a significant number of migrants set out for Europe because of the conflict in Syria. The vast majority of people are now arriving from Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, there are very few Syrians, Mr. Bakondi said.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling on the Government of Hungary to withdraw a package of laws set to be introduced in the Hungarian Parliament that would significantly restrict the ability of NGOs and individuals to support asylum-seekers and refugees. UNHCR is seriously concerned that these proposals, if passed, would deprive people who are forced to flee their homes of critical aid and services, and further inflame tense public discourse and rising xenophobic attitudes.
The new Hungarian parliament which will first assemble on 8 May is set to vote on draconian and regressive legislation which could arbitrarily restrict fundamental rights and freedoms of civil society. The proposed laws would further undermine and stigmatise organisations working to defend the human rights of migrants and refugees.
“Last week, the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, said it was "slanderous" and "unacceptable" of me to call his Prime Minister a racist. He claimed I had "accused Hungary of being comparable to the worst dictatorships of the last century" and demanded I resign.
This report was written by Márta Pardavi, Gruša Matevžič, Júlia Iván and Anikó Bakonyi of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), the first three updates were written by Gruša Matevžič, the fourth update was written by Gruša Matevžič, Júlia Iván, Anikó Bakonyi and Gábor Gyulai, and the 2016 and 2017 updates were written by András Alföldi, Gruša Matevžič, Zita Barcza-Szabó and Zsolt Szekeres. The report was edited by ECRE.
Asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection in V4 countries
In a country with a xenophobic streak and a government proud to call itself “illiberal”, religious leaders are speaking up
By Helen Womack and Erno Simon, in Vac and Budapest | 20 December 2017
When Miklos Beer, Bishop of Vac, feeds his pet sheep and donkey, the scene brings to mind the stable at Bethlehem. But there is plenty of “room at the Inn” here. The bishop has personally accommodated refugees in his bishopric in northern Hungary.
“If a person comes through the door, asking for asylum, how can you reject them?” he asks.
“It is in the interests of both Hungary and Europe for the Balkan migration route to remain closed, and in view of the fact that Macedonia is a country of key importance in this regard, we are cooperating with those Macedonian forces that are practicing this policy”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a press conference in Ohrid.
Researcher, Eastern Europe and Western Balkans
European Leaders Should Condemn Efforts to Stir Hate Against Foreigners, Civil Society*
Hungary’s government is set to launch its third tax-payer-funded campaign likely to fuel anti-foreigner sentiment. It’s aimed at highlighting what it calls a plan by Hungarian-born philanthropist and billionaire George Soros and the European Union to bring millions of immigrants to Europe.
Budapest – UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called on Hungary to improve access for people seeking asylum and to do away with its so-called border “transit zones,” which he said are in effect detention centres.
Ref. DC 103(2017)
Hungary: Visit to transit zones to evaluate sexual abuse risks faced by migrant children
Strasbourg/Budapest, 07.07.2017 – Council of Europe children’s rights experts concluded today a three-day visit to Hungary to evaluate risks of sexual abuse and exploitation faced by migrant children placed in transit zones. Their report is expected in October.
Duarte Marques (Portugal, EPP/CD), whose report on “Comprehensive solutions to the migration crisis” is due to be debated in Strasbourg tomorrow, has urged the Hungarian authorities to co-operate more closely with non-governmental organisations assisting migrants, as well as international organisations dealing with migration issues.