The protection rate for asylum seekers in Hungary has dropped to 12% in 2019. A Hungarian newspaper reports that only 60 asylum seekers were given protection in 2019, compared to around 360 in the previous year.
According to government figures published by the daily
newspaper Nepszava, 60 people who filed an asylum application in Hungary in
2019 received a positive decision – that means they were either granted asylum or another
form of protection. In 2018, the number of positive asylum decisions stood at
367, and in 2017, the total was 1,291.
While the overall number of applications has gone down in recent years, the rejection rate has increased (meaning the overall protection rate has gone down). In 2018, more than 50 percent of asylum seekers were given protection, while the protection rate in 2019 dropped down to 12%. Of 500 applications, 60 were positive and 440 were rejected, the German news agency dpa reports citing government figures.
In 2019, about half of the 500 people who applied for asylum in Hungary were below the age of 18, dpa adds.
Under far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has taken strict anti-immigration measures and has introduced a law that makes it a crime to help asylum seekers. Asylum claims can only be submitted in two transit zones on the country's land border with Serbia, namely at the border crossings of Röszke and Tompa, and the number of people admitted to enter is limited to 10 persons per day.
In 2018, the Hungarian Parliament approved amendments to the country’s asylum act which stated that: "Any non-Hungarian citizen arriving in the territory of Hungary through a country where he or she was not exposed to persecution or a direct risk of persecution shall not be entitled to asylum." (Excerpt from Section 4, Article XIV as cited by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC)).
Since Hungary considers Serbia a safe third country, the "provision abolished any remaining access to a fair asylum procedure in practice," the HHC writes.
Hungary last year dissolved its immigration and asylum office as well and renamed it "directorate for foreign police affairs," re-integrating the authority into the federal police.
The country moreover has faced repeated criticism for allegedly starving asylum seekers in transit zones, keeping asylum seekers for months under internment-like conditions in these transit zones, attempting to deport people without examining their asylum claims, as well as breaking EU law by refusing to comply with a refugee quota program that was introduced in 2015.
The European Court of Human Rights has launched infringement proceedings against Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic because of such ongoing practices.
•••• ➤ Also read: Hungary's slow descent into xenophobia, racism and human rights abuses
•••• ➤ Also read: UN special rapporteur slams Hungary's treatment of migrants