Hungary deprived asylum seekers of right to ask for protection: EU Court

Hungary deprived asylum seekers of right to ask for protection: EU Court

Hungary’s asylum regulation breached EU law by obliging asylum seekers to travel to embassies in Serbia, Ukraine to make declaration of intent, court rules

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) – The EU Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that Hungary deprived asylum seekers of their right to demand international protection.

“Hungary has unduly hindered the possibility of making asylum application” by a law adopted in 2020 that created new rules for asylum application in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The act demanded refugees to travel to the Hungarian embassies in the Serbian capital Belgrade or the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to submit in person a declaration of intent before they officially seek asylum at the border.

Based on their claim, the Hungarian authorities could decide if they grant authorization for the asylum seekers.

“By making the possibility of making an application for international protection subject to the prior submission of a declaration of intent to an embassy located in a third country, Hungary has failed to fulfill its obligations under EU law,” the court said.

The law deprives non-EU citizens and stateless people “of the effective enjoyment of their right to seek asylum from Hungary,” it added.

The court also found that the requirements “cannot be regarded as measures suitable to combat the spread of pandemic” as it even raised the possibility of coronavirus infections when demanded that asylum seekers travel across other countries.

Under the decision, Hungary is obliged to amend its asylum law or it risks facing further legal action.

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