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Saturday, 23 April 2016

REFUGEE & HUMAN RIGHTS

Finland court rules against sending refugee to Hungary

Top court rules against deportation of Afghan asylum seeker to Hungary in the light of asylum violations in the country. The court referred to common unfair evaluations and lack of legal assistance for asylum-seekers in Hungary.


Finland's highest administrative court has ruled against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker to Hungary as there is a risk of "inhuman and degrading treatment" in the EU member state which is widely criticised for its policies against refugees.

The Finnish Immigration Service, the body that overlooks the asylum seeking process, suspended the return of the applicant to Hungary hours after the Supreme Administrative Court ruling was announced on Wednesday.

"It is not possible to reliably ensure that returning an asylum seeker to Hungary would not violate … [international treaties], which prohibit, among others, inhuman and degrading treatment," the court said in its judgment.

The court's verdict said the Finnish Immigration Service's decision in 2014 not to look into the Afghan man's application and deport him to Hungary was a breach of his rights.

The Finnish Immigration Service sent the man to Hungary on the grounds that he first sought international protection there - in line with a key EU law on the issue.

The ruling said there was a possibility that Hungarian authorities might send the refugee to Serbia, which he had entered Hungary from, without properly evaluating his application.

In July 2015, the Hungarian government declared a list of safe third countries, which included Serbia as well as other Balkan countries. No other EU member state see Serbia, which is not a member state, as a safe third country.

The court also cited various problems with Hungary's asylum seeking process, referring to common unfair evaluations, lack of legal assistance and large stockpiles of applications.

Call for further action

Amnesty International, which campaigned against returning of asylum seekers to Hungary, welcomed the verdict and called for further action against the breaches in the country.

"We urge all EU member states to refrain from sending refugees to Hungary as they would face systemic failures in asylum procedures and the reception conditions as well as the risk of refoulement to Serbia," Susanna Mehtonen, legal adviser at Amnesty International Finland, told Al Jazeera.


Challenge of passing through Hungary
"Following the ruling, we expect asylum seekers coming from Hungary to take their individual examination here in Finland, as they cannot be sent there.

"The Afghan asylum seeker, who won the case, is expected to get the same procedures as any Afghan who arrived in Finland, regardless of the fact that he first sought asylum in Hungary."

The EU's Dublin Regulation on asylum seeking process says if a person applies for asylum in an EU member state, he or she cannot seek asylum in another.

However, the Finnish court ruled in favour of the Afghan man despite the rule as a result of the breaches of asylum seeker rights in Hungary.

Erno Simon, public information officer of the UNHCR Central Europe, told Al Jazeera that Hungarian asylum system is far from functioning perfectly and the organisation does not see Serbia as a safe country for refugees.

Last June, Hungary, trying to cope with huge flow of refugees to its borders, briefly suspended the EU law on the procedures of processing of asylum claims.

The government reversed its decision the next day because of the European Commission threat of taking action against the EU member state as the Dublin Regulation did not foresee such a suspension.

Wire fence

In September, Hungary sealed off its border with Serbia with a razor-wire fence, blocking access to its territory for thousands of refugees.

Legal amendments came into force on the same day criminalised "illegal" entry, punishable by up to three years' custodial sentence, and introduced "transit zones" where an accelerated asylum procedure is applied to the few asylum seekers they admit each day.

"Hundreds of people are detained through this rule, but nobody was sentenced. And Serbia does not take them back," Simon told Al Jazeera.

"When they get out of detention, they are either put into open facilities - where they can get in and out freely - or detention facilities, where they cannot get out. In either case, conditions are not good. Hungarian measures are against our point of views and basic values respected by UNHCR."


In March, the Swedish Migration Court also decided to suspend the transfer of all asylum seekers to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation in response to the complaints over the country's policies.

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Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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