A team of experts, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, from United Nations suspended its trip to Hungary on Thursday after the government denied it access to two sites where migrants and asylum-seekers are being held.
The experts had intended to visit the Roszke and Tompa "transit zones" — two sites on the Serbian border suspected illegal detentions — but were denied permission to enter them.
"There can be no doubt that holding migrants in these 'transit zones' constitutes deprivation of liberty in accordance with international law," said Elina Steinerte and Setondji Roland Adjovi, members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. "We have received a number of credible reports concerning the lack of safeguards against arbitrary detention in these facilities which called for a visit by the Working Group," they added.
Hungary holds its asylum-seekers in transit zones on the EU's external border. The migrants, whose asylum requests are rejected, are sent back to Serbia and banned from re-entering the entire Schengen area. Those accepted are placed under surveillance in the transit zone, which they are not allowed to leave for up to six months.
Host countries are required to guarantee UN-appointed experts freedom of inquiry, especially regarding "confidential and unsupervised contacts with persons deprived of their liberty" the team said in a statement. "Unimpeded access to all places of deprivation of liberty including these transit zones must be guaranteed to independent international, regional and national organizations," the experts said. "This is vital for the protection of the human rights in a country governed by rule of law."