[JURIST] In a joint letter [text] to European Union Commissioner of Migration, Human Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopolous [official profile] on Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee [advocacy websites] expressed their concern regarding Hungary’s proposed migration amendments. According to the two organizations, the amendments would automatically detain any asylum seekers, with the only exception being children under 14. The amendments would also authorize Hungarian law enforcement to remove any undocumented asylum seeker to the Serbian border. The letter accuses Hungarian law enforcement of using force to remove asylum seekers and migrants in the past. The letter urges Avramopolous to call the Hungarian Parliament to halt the passage of the amendments until they can be evaluated by the European Union.
The rights of migrant populations have emerged as significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. 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.