From file: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France | Photo: Imago/Winfried Rothermel
From file: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France | Photo: Imago/Winfried Rothermel

Two Afghan refugees and a Pakistani national have won their cases against the Hungary at Europe's top human rights court. Two of them had been detained for months, the other had been violently pushed back to Serbia. The judges ruled that Hungarian authorities violated their human rights.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently ruled in favor of three clients of human rights organization Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC). The judges said that the Hungarian state violated the asylum seekers' human rights. Hungary now has to pay a total of €17,500 in damages to the three victims, following the May 4 verdicts.

The three cases were brought to the court by the HHC on behalf of two Afghani nationals and one Pakistani national.

Both Afghans entered Hungary irregularly in 2014. One of them, who was 17 at the time, was detained for almost three months although he immediately claimed asylum.

The other Afghan national -- who was 28 at the time -- was detained for three and a half months. Authorities detained him despite the "severe abuses, trauma, and permanent health damage" he had suffered at the hands of the Taliban, the HCC said in a press release from May 16.

Both of them were later granted refugee status in Hungary.

The Pakistani national had crossed the Serbian-Hungarian border in 2017, at the age of 14. Hungarian field guards reportedly assaulted his group, leaving the boy with a "wound to his head". According to the HCC, this was the first time the ECHR ruled on the pushback of an unaccompanied minor.

Also read: 'Europe's black sites': Allegations of torture and detention along EU borders

Poor human rights record

Hungary has one of the worst records on refugee protection in Europe. In late March, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said migrants and asylum seekers continue to be subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by border authorities along the Serbian border with Hungary and Bulgaria.

MSF claimed that their teams "treated 498 people for trauma injuries, including contusions, haematoma and closed fractures, after reported violence at the hands of border authorities" since January 2021.

In February, the ECHR fined Hungary €40,000 for violating the rights of a Syrian refugee who died in 2016. The case had been brought by the deceased man's brother, who now lives in Germany. And last month, the ECHR ruled that Hungarian authorities placing a 23-year-old Iraqi man in asylum detention in 2015 was unlawful.

Also read: Anti-immigrant Hungary struggling to accommodate Ukrainian refugees


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