The Hungarian Parliament gave the go-ahead yesterday for the government to draw up a list of “safe” transit states where it believes people could have sought asylum before reaching Hungary.
The list is most likely to include neighbouring Serbia, through which almost all of the 60,000 or so refugees and migrants who reached Hungary so far this year will have passed through en route from Greece and Macedonia.
On Tuesday 7 July, Amnesty International will release a new report: “Europe’s Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. It will detail how Serbia’s failing asylum system has meant only a handful of people have managed to get asylum there.
Asylum-seekers should not be returned to Serbia at all as it is unable to guarantee access to asylum.John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme Director
“Whilst they remain in legal limbo in Serbia they will be vulnerable to abuse from the police, as well as to being detained by the authorities.”
Two weeks ago Hungary announced plans to build a four metre (13 feet) high fence along its border with Serbia to keep “immigrants” out. Meanwhile the government’s own anti-immigration campaign has erected billboards in city streets, with slogans such as: “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take Hungarian jobs”.
As Hungary adopts this anti-immigration stance more refugees and asylum-seekers will find themselves in a legal impasse, trapped in Serbia as well as Macedonia, but without legal protection or status, or any possibility of asylum.