Update: On March 7, 2017, the Hungarian parliament approved the law, 138 to 6 with 22 abstentions. The law will come into force 8 days after it is signed by the Hungarian president.
(Budapest) – A draft bill proposed by the Hungarian government would allow the authorities to automatically detain asylum seekers in transit zones and to summarily return asylum seekers to the Serbian border from anywhere in Hungary, Human Rights Watch and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee said in a February 24 letter to the European Commission calling for it to intervene.
These provisions would apply during under the current immigration “state of crisis,” in effect since September 2015 and in force until September 2017, and any such declared emergency in future.
“The European Commission should not stand by while Hungary makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum,” said Benjamin Ward, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch. “Using transit zones as detention centers and forcing asylum seekers who are already inside Hungary back to the Serbian side of the razor-wire fence is abusive, pointless, and cruel.”