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System Error: Consequences of a demolished asylum system in Hungary

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Váltás magyarra

This project aims at addressing some of the challenges and consequences of a demolished asylum system in Hungary through evidence-based advocacy and litigation.

Since 2015, the Hungarian government has been systematically demolishing a functioning asylum system. The process has been characterised by border fences, extrajudicial push-backs, unlawful detention, violence on the border, the elimination of procedural safeguards and all integration support. In May 2020, the government introduced new asylum rules (the so-called embassy system) that made it almost impossible to request asylum in Hungary. Under these rules, apart from a few rare exceptions, asylum-seekers cannot submit an asylum application on Hungarian territory. They are only allowed to submit a ‘declaration of intent for lodging an application for asylum’ at Hungarian embassies in Serbia and Ukraine. Based on these declarations, the asylum authority may decide to provide asylum-seekers with a single-entry permit to make an application in Hungary.

Hungary introduced pushback measures in 2016 which allow the Hungarian Police to remove foreigners staying in the country without valid papers to the Serbian side of the border fence without a hearing or allowing them to submit an asylum application, and without issuing an individual decision on their expulsion. Both the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have ruled (in 2020, 2021 and 2022) that pushbacks carried out by Hungary under domestic regulation are in breach of the prohibition of collective expulsion. Despite these judgments, unlawful push backs are still happening at Hungary’s borders today.

Through evidence-based advocacy and domestic and European strategic litigation this project aims

  • to shed light on the shameful and unlawful practice of push backs carried out by Hungarian Police;
  • and to advocate for the government to adhere to EU and international law and standards and ensure access to protection and a fair procedure. 

Project duration: 1 March 2023 – 1 March 2024

The project is funded by Stichting Vluchteling.


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Hungarian Helsinki Committee