Exactly one year ago, amendments to the Hungarian asylum system came into force that drastically reduced the chances of genuine asylum-seekers to receive protection by fundamentally altering the asylum procedure.
Hungary started to deprive of food some third-country nationals detained in the transit zones started in August 2018. After 5 such cases successfully challenged by the HHC with obtaining interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office (IAO) promised in August 2018 to discontinue this practice and provide food to all asylum-seekers in the transit zone.
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In February 2019, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) along with several partner organisations, including the Global Detention Project (GDP), launched the final report of their joint initiative, the Red Line detention project, whose objective is to document and raise awareness of how EU states’ border “reception” procedures are increasingly used for the detention of asylum seekers.
On 15 March, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) again had to issue an emergency decision and order the Hungarian government to give food to migrants in detention in the transit zone at the southern Hungarian border.
The Constitutional Court (CC) held today that the Criminal Code amendment by the “Stop Soros” package is constitutional. Although the CC concluded that it would be unacceptable if those who selflessly assist asylum seekers were penalised, it is still not sufficiently clear what is allowed and what is forbidden by the law.
This research explores how Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Italy undermine the right to liberty of asylum seekers upon entry. Besides thoroughly documenting the worrisome trend towards de facto detention, it provides EU organs with the necessary knowledge to tackle attempts at weakening the fundamental rights of a group of people seeking refuge in Europe as a result of violence and turmoil in their home countries.