EU Court: Hungary Should Not Prosecute Asylum Seekers Helpers

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Hungary is not allowed to prosecute persons or organizations that assist refugees and migrants with submitting an asylum application, the European Court of Justice said.

 

The EU country criminalized helping asylum seekers in 2018 with a new law. Still, the highest European court rules that this measure violates European asylum law and demands that the so-called anti-Soros law be repealed.

The law is known as the Anti-Soros Act after the American-Hungarian businessman and activist George Soros. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sees Soros as a political instigator who brings many migrants to Europe. Since the number of asylum applications increased enormously in 2015, the Hungarian government is doing everything it can to exclude asylum seekers, and the asylum legislation has been amended several times.

The anti-Soros law states, among other things, that an application for international protection can be declared inadmissible if the asylum seeker has entered Hungary via a ‘safe’ country, where he has not been exposed to persecution or where an adequate level of protection is guaranteed, such as a neighbouring country Serbia.

Furthermore, aid organizations or activists who help these people with their asylum applications in Hungary are punishable if it was already clear “beyond all reasonable doubt” that the application could not succeed.

According to the court, aid organizations do not have to assess in advance who is entitled to stay. That is precisely the authorities’ task and not the starting point but the outcome of the procedure. The European Commission had taken the case to court. The country has been repeatedly reprimanded by the committee and the European judge about its asylum policy.

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