[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] on Thursday initiated an infringement action [press release] against Hungary’s new asylum law and the country’s response to the refugee situation. Hungary recently erected a fence along its border to keep migrants from crossing into the country. The government has also rejected and fought against [JURIST report] Germany’s plan that requires all EU states to take a certain number of refugees. The commission has criticized Hungary’s system dealing with asylum seekers, basically forcing them to leave the country if their petition for asylum is denied because of the holes in their asylum seeking appeals process. The second criticism is over Hungary’s failure to provide translation and interpretation services to asylum seekers, which violates EU law. Finally, the commission has charged that Hungary has violated asylum seekers’ fundamental right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU [text, PDF]. The commission has also escalated other infringement cases against Greece, Croatia, Italy and Malta.
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Earlier in November Amnesty International analyzed[JURIST report] the EU’s approach to the refugee crisis and recommended changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on [JURIST report] the EU and Western Balkans states to focus on remedying what it characterized as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in September in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. Germany announced [JURIST report] that month that it was invoking temporary border controls at the nation’s southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country.