According to the latest decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the Hungarian state illegally detained an Afghan family of six in the transit zone of Röszke.
The conditions of detention for the children were so bad that they constituted inhuman and degrading treatment under the European Convention on Human Rights. The family represented by the Helsinki Committee was therefore awarded EUR 17,000 in damages.
An Afghan family fleeing the Taliban waited nine months in Serbia to enter the transit zone back in 2017. The law enforcement agency said they lived in the hottest container prison during the warm summer months, with no shade at all in the whole transit zone. The injured and sick father did not receive adequate medical treatment, writes Telex.
The school-age children were not dealt with by the authorities for five months. One child, on the other hand, was used as a translator: he had to communicate between the two sides. He was severely traumatised when he regularly witnessed police transporting asylum seekers, including pregnant women, outside of the transit zone, handcuffed.
The release of the Afghan family, even after the interim measure of the Strasbourg court, took place only when they finally received a decision recognising them as refugees. After they were released, they found a new home in another European country.
“Of course we welcome the verdict. Although the Strasbourg decision does not erase the traumatic memory of the 209-day detention, it does confirm that what the detained children and their parents experienced as inhuman was inhuman under written law,” said Barbara Pohárnok, a lawyer at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the legal representative of the Afghan family, according to the Helsinki Committee’s announcement.
According to his assessment, an important judgment was delivered in a more general sense because the Strasbourg court was again in line with the 2020 decision, which declared detention in transit zones as illegal detention. “It can also give hope to the many, many clients of the Helsinki Committee who are still waiting for a decision by the Strasbourg court.”
A similar verdict was declared last March about another Afghan family in Strasbourg; they had been detained illegally for months as well.
In 2020, the European Court of Justice decided that Hungary had violated EU law with the transit zone. The court said that the Hungarian government had breached its EU obligations by failing to provide effective access to a fair asylum procedure. It was also unlawful, according to the judgment, for the Hungarian state to illegally detain asylum seekers in the transit zones and to limit the number of applications processed per day.
Source: helsinki.hu, telex.hu