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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.
“Nineteen illegal immigrants were apprehended on the country’s territory from Friday to Sunday”, the National Police Headquarters informed Hungarian news agency MTI on Monday. According to the statistics, which have also been published on the police.hu website, six, nine and two foreign nationals who were in Hungary illegally were apprehended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and accompanied back by police to the other side of the temporary border security fence. Two migrants were caught along Hungary’s borders with Romania and Ukraine.
From June 2015, onwards: Increasing numbers of people arrived in Hungary in transit to other destinations in western and northern Europe.
5 August 2015: CHF 322,365 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). By the first week of August 2015, an average of 1,500 migrants were registered along the border on a daily basis, and growing to over 3,500 people a day in early September 2015.
According to the Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, traffic along the Balkan people-smuggling route has somewhat increased.
Speaking on M1 Hungarian television’s Saturday evening current affairs program, Gyögy Bakondi said that according to information from neighbouring countries there seems to be a noticeable increase in movement, and illegal immigrants are now not only attempting to enter the EU via the Hungarian-Serbian-Romanian triple border, but also via several other territories.