STRASBOURG, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoE), Nils Muiznieks, sounded the alarm on Wednesday in Strasbourg regarding the treatment of migrants returned to Hungary following recent changes made to asylum legislation.
"Due to sweeping changes introduced in Hungary in asylum law and practice over recent months, asylum seekers returned there run a considerable risk of being subject to human rights violations," Muiznieks declared.
The human rights commissioner made public on Wednesday written observations he had submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Dec. 17, 2015, regarding two complaints against Austria that had concerned the transfer of applicants from Austria to Hungary according to the Dublin III agreement.
This text establishes that asylum seekers must submit their applications in the European Union (EU) country in which they first arrived.
Budapest has taken "a series of swift measures in recent months that has rendered access to international protection extremely difficult and has criminalized in an unjustifiable manner migrants and asylum seekers," judged the human rights commissioner.
According to the UN, between January and October 2015, 400,000 people (the majority of Syrian or Iraqi origin) arrived in Hungary.
The crossing of the barbed wall erected by Hungary along its frontiers with Serbia and Croatia is now considered a criminal infraction and is the subject of an accelerated procedure which is "problematic from the point of view of relative norms for a fair trial," worries Muiznieks.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has for its part denounced "daily expedited trials."
Asylum requests are generally not examined carefully, affirmed the human rights commissioner who recalled that Hungarian legislation considers Serbia, the country through which the large majority of asylum seekers have travelled before their arrival in Hungary, as a safe third country.
The different authorities of the CoE, a pan-European rights organization based in Strasbourg, have already alerted the world community several times as to the degradation of the situation of migrants in Magyar lands. Following a visit to Hungary at the end of last November, the commissioner for human rights notably declared without ambiguity his observation that "Hungary has not lived up to this challenge."
For several months, the attitude of Budapest toward the refugee crisis that has divided European leaders has been the subject of fierce critiques. The policy of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has nevertheless inspired imitators as other walls have been erected in Slovenia, Austria, and Bulgaria, and while numerous border checking facilities in the EU interior have been reestablished.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had defended a generous welcome policy for migrants, seems more and more isolated, and is troubled in her own country since events in Cologne on Dec. 31 2015 in which migrants have been accused of hundreds of acts of sexual violence against women.
About three weeks ago, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Dec. 21 warned that "blindness" by the Council of Europe (CoE) and the UNHCR, or the UN refugee agency, could lead to the end of European civilization.
He was responding a request from these organizations which in a statement issued earlier urged Hungary to "refrain from policies and practices that promote intolerance, fear and fuel xenophobia against refugees and migrants."
Rejecting the allegation, Szijjarto said Hungary is talking about reality.