Hungarian Helsinki Committee on asylum seekers figures for 2016

July 11, 2016

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The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a Budapest-based human rights organization, has released figures summarizing Hungary’s exposure to irregular migration between January and June 2016.

Despite the Hungarian government’s decision to erect a fence along the country’s borders with Serbia and Croatia, some 17,472 irregular migrants were nabbed by law enforcement for unlawfully entering Hungary between January and June 2016.

During this period, 22,491 asylum applications were registered with Hungarian authorities. In the first five months of the year, the government granted international protection to only 228 asylum seekers.

According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 65 percent of the asylum applications registered by the authorities in the first half of 2016 were submitted by individuals arriving from war- or terrorism-torn areas (15 percent from Syria, 37 percent from Afghanistan, 11 percent from Iraq and 1 percent from Somalia).

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 1,489 asylum seekers were being held at open camps in Bicske, Vámosszabadi, Körmend and Balassagyarmat as of June 20, 2016.

On June 20, 734 first-time applicants seeking asylum (including two children) were being held in closed facilities at Békéscsaba, Kiskunhalas and Nyírbátor.

Between January and May, some 300 asylum seekers were sent back to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation, primarily from Germany (144) and Switzerland (44).

In the first five months of 2016, 99 irregular migrants were officially transferred back to Serbia from Hungary. Among the irregular migrants sent back to Serbia, there were 33 Serbians, 26 Kosovars and 19 Albanians.

According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Serbia has not accepted the return of a single Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi or Somalian asylum seeker.

Between September 15, 2015 and June 26, 2016, the Szeged Court (which has been assigned the responsibility of hearing all cases pertaining to “unlawful border-crossings”) opened criminal proceedings against 2,839 individuals for crossing Hungary’s border unlawfully, and successfully convicted 2,792 of them.