The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, has issued a report detailing, amongst others, the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Hungary.
The report highlights that detention for asylum seekers is still being used extensively in Hungary, this is despite recent amendments to legislation which provide legal grounds for the detention of asylum seekers with a view to reducing its use and putting in place alternatives to detention. According to the Commissioner, however, these changes are far too vague to be properly implemented. Thus, alternatives to detention are infrequently used and there is a lack of effective judicial review. The Commissioner therefore calls on Hungary to make sure that alternatives to detention are considered in priority and detention is used as a very last resort, for the shortest period of time and after an individual assessment. Linked to this point is also the detention of unaccompanied children, which is on-going, and the detention of asylum-seeking families, which is still provided for by the law.
The publication further highlights obstacles for stateless persons applying for stateless status in Hungary and the substantial problems refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection face in integrating into society. According to the report this is further exacerbated by the “serious obstacles to family reunification resulting from the application of strict rules on travel documents.” In response the Commissioner “calls on the Hungarian authorities to rapidly develop alternatives to facilitate the travel of family members who do not have valid travel documents.”
For further information:
· The response by the Hungarian authorities to the report can be viewed here.
This article originally appeared in the ELENA Weekly Legal Update of 19 December 2014.