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Closure of “transit zones” by Hungary: an important step forward

​Statement by Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

29 May 2020

The closure by Hungary of the "transit zones" where asylum seekers were automatically detained during the entire asylum procedure is an important step to advance the protection of the human rights of all migrants, especially asylum seekers.

Almost 300 migrants who were seeking asylum in Hungary, including children with their families, were held at the transit zones for months or over a year in prison-like conditions, the Special Rapporteur witnessed during his official visit to Hungary in July 2019. At the end of the visit, he expressed serious concerns about the automatic detention of asylum seekers in the transit zones and called on Hungary to transfer, as a priority, all asylum-seeking children with their families to open facilities.

The Special Rapporteur is pleased to learn that asylum seekers previously detained at the "transit zones" have been moved to open or semi-open facilities.

He counts on relevant authorities to ensure access to rights and services in the new facilities for all individuals, particularly asylum seeking children, who were transferred from the transit zones. The Special Rapporteur also stresses that while the transit zones are closed, Hungary should take this opportunity to review its asylum procedures and practices to ensure individuals seeking protection under international human rights and refugee law have access to territory and asylum in Hungary. The Special Rapporteur stresses that all migrants are entitled to protection of their human rights at all times, including the principle of non-refoulement.

The Special Rapporteur reiterates that immigration detention should be a measure of last resort and that children, whether accompanied or not, should never be subject to detention based on their or their parents' migration status.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report on the human rights of migrants including asylum seekers in Hungary at the upcoming 44th session of the Human Rights Council, this June.

ENDS

 

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