UNHCR: Hungary’s migration policy restricts access to asylum
Budapest, May 12 (MTI) – The migration policies Hungary adopted last summer have limited refugees’ access to asylum, the UNHCR said in a report on Thursday.
The UN refugee agency said that neither Hungary’s asylum procedure nor reception conditions in transit zones comply with European Union or international standards. The report said the country’s policies had had a negative effect on procedural safeguards, judicial review and the freedom of movement.
The UNHCR said the government’s implementation of the concept of safe third countries, referring to countries refugees had traversed en route to Hungary, had also restricted access to asylum.
The agency also criticised the government’s move to criminalise illegal entry into the country, which it noted is punishable by up to ten years in prison or expulsion. It said prison sentences were imposed after fast-tracked trials and sentences were not suspended even if the individual in question had submitted an asylum application.
The report criticised the decision to close the country’s biggest refugee reception centre in Debrecen and suggested that Hungary’s asylum laws may be in conflict with its international and EU obligations.