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Hungary’s migrant policy criticised by Amnesty International

October 14th, 2015

A conservative constitutional lawyer dismisses the accusation that Hungary is violating its international obligations. On the contrary, Hungary is among the few states that still respects the Schengen treaty and acts accordingly, he claims.

Hungary has a legal obligation under the Schengen Agreement to protect its internal borders from illegal migrants, Attila István Magyar comments in Magyar Idők on Amnesty International’s brief published last week. In its report, AI accused Hungary of violating its international duties by erecting a fence on its southern border in order to keep undocumented migrants out. In order to defend human rights, AI called on the EU to start an infringement procedure against Hungary under EU article 7, which could entail the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights in the European Council. The conservative constitutional lawyer writes that the Schengen Agreement allows for the temporary suspension of border control and/or the admission of undocumented migrants out of humanitarian considerations. The possibility of such temporary measures does not however oblige states to act accordingly, Magyar notes. Under the Schengen Agreement asylum seekers have the right to submit refugee applications in the country where they entered the Schengen zone. Thus, undocumented migrants arriving in Hungary through Greece are not eligible to apply for asylum in Hungary, Magyar argues. Rather than accusing Hungary of reneging on its international duties, liberal watchdogs should be concerned about the Greek government’s decision to let undocumented migrants proceed rather than registering them, Magyar concludes.

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