On February 7, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said that the country would submit to the European Union proposals to protect the borders by automatically detaining asylum seekers for the whole period of their asylum application.
“The European Commission should not stand by while Hungary makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum … Using transit zones as detention centers and forcing asylum seekers who are already inside Hungary back to the Serbian side of the razor-wire fence is abusive, pointless, and cruel,” Benjamin Ward, a deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch said, as quoted in a joint statement with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.
According to the statement, the draft bill would abolish the right of asylum seekers to challenge the detention, while granting the Hungarian authorities the right to immediately return asylum seekers to the Serbian border from any place in Hungary.
Hungary has repeatedly opposed EU position on immigration, in particular migrants quota system that envisages the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers across the bloc within two years, and even threatened to sue the European Commission over the scheme. Hungary has also set up border fences with Serbia and intends to employ 6,000-8,000 border guards “to apprehend those coming through the fence.”
The European Union has been trying to cope with a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their homes in the Middle East and North Africa, trying to escape violence and poverty. The refugees and migrants are attempting to reach wealthy EU member states through various routes, including via Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Balkan states.