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Hungary lawmakers approve detention of asylum-seekers

[JURIST] Hungarian lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday preventing those seeking asylum from moving about the country or leaving until their claims have been investigated. This legislation requires [DW report] that they instead be detained in camps. The detainment camps will be composed of converted shipping containers. Prime Minister Viktor Orban [official website] has stated [press release] that the bill was in response to recent terror attacks in Europe carried out by migrants. The law reinstates a practice that was suspended in 2013 in the face of increased pressure by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the European Court of Human Rights. The UNHCR has warned [press release] that reinstatement of this policy will further traumatize refugees. The Hungarian government claims that just over a thousand people have applied for asylum and will be placed into this new process.

The rights of migrant populations have emerged as significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed concern [JURIST report] over this Hungarian legislation. In January HRW said [JURIST report] that it was against EU policy for Croatia to force asylum seekers back to Serbia. Also in January the European Commission labeled [JURIST report] the conditions on Greek Islands for asylum seekers as "untenable" due to heavy snowfall in the region. Ahead of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September UN experts urged [JURIST report] states to protect women and girls in the movement of refugees and migrants by adhering to international human rights conventions and standards. That same month HRW and Amnesty International said that the draft of the final outcome document for the UN summit on refugees fell short [JURIST report] of dealing with the issue effectively. Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said [JURIST report] earlier in September that Austria will take Hungary to the International Court of Justice if Hungary does not begin accepting returning migrants that crossed into Austria from Hungary.

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