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Hungarian detention of all asylum-seekers against obligations, says UN

Hungary refugees
Immigrants   Mandatory detention in Hungary

The United Nations refugee agency voiced deep concerned at a new law voted by the Hungarian Parliament that could lead to mandatory detention of all asylum-seekers and warned that it would have a terrible impact on people who have already suffered greatly.

“In practice, it means that every asylum-seeker, including children, would be detained in shipping containers surrounded by high razor wire fence at the border for extended periods of time,” Cécile Pouilly, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told the media today at a news briefing at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).

“The new law violates Hungary’s obligations under international and European Union (EU) laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who had already greatly suffered,” she added.

According to the UN agency, under international and EU laws, the detention of refugees and asylum-seekers could only be justified on a limited number of grounds, and only where it was necessary, reasonable and proportionate.

That requires authorities to consider whether there were less coercive or intrusive measures to achieve those goals, based on an assessment of the individual’s particular circumstances, explained Ms. Pouilly, adding that alternatives to detention should always to be considered first.

“Failure to do so could render detention arbitrary,” she said.


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