Hungary: rapporteurs express deep concern at new law to automatically detain asylum seekers

Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), rapporteur for follow-up on human rights of refugees and migrants, has expressed her deep concerns about the new Hungarian law on the automatic detention of asylum seekers, which was adopted by the Hungarian Parliament yesterday.

“Hungary has been reminded by the European Court of Human Rights several times over the past years* that Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to protection of refugees and migrants against arbitrary interference with their right to liberty. Article 5 contains an exhaustive list of permissible grounds on which individuals may be deprived through lawful and proportionate decisions for each case. An automatic detention of asylum seekers is in clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights,” Ms Strik said.

She emphasised: “I call on the President of Hungary to return this law to Parliament, asking to revise it in accordance with Hungary’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and other international standards for refugees. People seeking asylum are no criminals, but they deserve fair processing of their case and humane treatment.”

Doris Fiala (Switzerland, ALDE), General Rapporteur on ending immigration detention of children, added: “The new Hungarian law would automatically detain also minors in closed detention centres, while they should not be detained at all under the standards acknowledged by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Hungary is a signatory to.”

* See Lokpo and Touré v. Hungary (Application no. 10816/10; final on 08/03/2012), Abdelhakim v. Hungary (Application no. 13058/11; final on 23/01/2013), Said v. Hungary (Application no. 13457/11; final on 23/01/2013), and O.M. v. Hungary (Application no. 9912/15, final on 05/10/2016).