Churning out asylum rejections at Röszke

Author: Fábián Tamás, Spirk József, Panyi Szabolcs Original title:  Beindult az elutasításgyár Röszkénél
Publication: index.hu , Photo:MTI-Balázs MOHAI Date: 14:45 15/09/2015

Churning out asylum rejections at Röszke

The first rejections of asylum claims have been issued in a three-hour-long procedure on the borders of Hungary. As was to be expected, the Hungarian authorities argued that the refugees are not eligible for refugee status because they reached Hungary through a safe country, Serbia. The decision can be appealed against of course, but not from Hungary: the effect of the refusal is that the claimant is banned from the Schengen territory. 

In the transit zone at the Röszke checkpoint, three Bangladeshi asylum seekers were the first to enter the asylum claim procedure (which has been restricted recently).

Our reporter on site met them after the three-hour procedure, at the border.

Expulsion – with extras

The two men were visibly confused by the events, as they obviously hadn’t realized yet that their claim had already been refused. The lengthy procedure involved giving fingerprints and writing samples, which means they were entered in the European registry. They were given a decision in Hungarian only. The reason for the refusal was indeed that the claimants entered from a safe third party country, Serbia.

The standard text regarding Serbia is as follows:

’The migration authorities have ascertained that the claimant’s life or safety is not in danger because of his/her race, religion, nationality or because of being a member of a group. ’

According to the decision, the authorities investigated whether Serbia is safe for that particular refugee, and found that it was. Consequently, the refugee can be sent bac immediately.

The document also states (exclusively in Hungarian) the decision can be appealed against within two days at the Szeged Court. (The document is courtesy of Kettős Mérce).

The document also states that the applicant shall be expelled from the country, with the authorities accompanying the refugee back to the country’s borders. As a little extra punishment, the claimants are banned from entering Hungary and the Schengen zone for a year.

Lawyers of non-profit organizations were at a loss to explain how the refugees could exercise their rights to appeal if they had been expelled and deported from the country.

On their way out of the containers, the Bangladeshi refugees asked policemen whether the Hungarian document they had received is then sufficient to enter Hungary. The officers shook their heads and said: „Croatia, Croatia” -meaning they should try crossing into Croatia.

What does the ban from the Schengen zone mean?

Apparently, apart from being expelled, the refugees are banned from entering and remaining in the Schengen zone for a period of one year. Júlia Iván, lawyer of the Helsinki Committee, explained to index.hu that since Schengen is a common space, any of the member states can decide to register the name and finger prints of a person and declare him/her as dangerous to be allowed in the area:

It’s as if one police precinct would do a favour to the other, saying “you don’t have to investigate this issue, we have already done it.”

The label next to the person’s name would be visible to all countries but can only be removed by the country that originally put it there.

If Hungarians decide to pull this trick at the borders and label everyone so, that means these refugees theoretically cannot be allowed into the Schengen zone even if they try to enter in other, legal ways, applying for visas, on an airplane etc’, says Júlia Iván, adding that in civilized countries, anyone applying for asylul would be allowed to stay there at least until they are identified and the country they should be sent back to in case of a refusal is determined.

Expulsion, however, is not inevitable: any country can decide to ignore the label. It can even become general practice to do so, but it is still something everyone will see whenever a person so labelled tries to enter Schengen legally.

This, however, has limited significance as most refugees do not apply for visas at consulates of the member states before setting out.

Ms. Iván also explained the length of the expulsion is a decision of the authorities. One year is the minimum. “On the Serbian border, five to ten years weren’t unusual. It looks like one year is the new directive,” she said.

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2 thoughts on “Churning out asylum rejections at Röszke

  1. WOW! The way the verdict is handed to them is brutal. On the other hand the message in the Netherlands would take our burocrats in the Netherlands a few months, then they can appeal for years etc. Our govt tries so hard to be decent laws just don’t function anymore. In that sense I like your way better, after the wait the Bangladeshies would get the same message from us anyway.

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