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EU court orders Slovakia and Hungary to accept asylum-seekers

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice [official website] on Wednesday ruled [judgment] that Slovakia and Hungary must host asylum seekers as a part of the EU migration policy [EU materials]. Slovakia and Hungary filed a complaint [text] arguing that it was illegal for Brussels to require them to take in hundreds of Syrian refugees and that it would destabilize their economies. According to the court [press release], the requirement of each EU state to take a quota of refugees helps stabilize the 2015 migration crisis and that under law it has authority to "adopt all provisional measures necessary to respond effectively and swiftly to an emergency situation characterized by a sudden inflow of displaced persons." The court also stated that the legality of its decision is not affected by the effectiveness of the policy. The court has further defended the policy stating that, "The small number of relocations so far carried out under the contested decision can be explained by a series of factors … including, in particular, the lack of cooperation on the part of certain member states."

The rights of migrant populations have emerged as significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed concern [JURIST report] over a proposed Hungary migration amendment. 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. In March Hungarian lawmakers approved [JURIST report] legislation preventing those seeking asylum from moving about the country or leaving until their claims have been investigated. 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. In June the European Commission started infringement procedures [JURIST report] against the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungay for refusal to comply with the emergency relocation scheme. In October 2015 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] to the Czech Republic to stop detaining migrants and refugees.

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