Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hunger as anti-refugee weapon

Hungary is starving some rejected asylum-seekers in transit zones to force them to drop their appeals,  Human Rights Watch claims. Hungary's denial of food to some rejected asylum-seekers in transit camps is an attempt to force them to Serbia without appealing their cases. The move to use starvation as a bludgeon against asylum-seekers was implemented in mid-August after Hungary's right-wing government had earlier amended laws to allow rejected asylum-seekers to undergo "alien policing procedures" in transit zones until deportation. The Immigration and Asylum Office (IAO) has said that authorities have no obligation under Hungarian law to provide food to rejected asylum-seekers in transit zones. 
Human Rights Watch accused Hungarian authorities of violating basic international asylum standards and human decency by using hunger as an anti-immigration tactic. Human Rights Watch said, "Hungarian authorities do have binding obligations under multiple human rights treaties and norms that prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment of those in their custody and require those in custody to be treated with humanity and dignity."
"That includes providing them with food, water, hygiene, and medical needs," the rights group said.
"The government has stooped to a new inhumane low by refusing food to people in their custody, apparently reveling in breaching human rights law, including its obligations as a European Union member," said Lydia Gall, Eastern EU and Balkans researcher at Human Rights Watch. "This disregard for people's well-being smacks of a cynical move to force people to give up their asylum claims and leave Hungary."
The hunger policy aims to force rejected asylum-seekers moved to transit camps to voluntarily return to Serbia or travel to another "third country," according to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee human rights group.
"The Immigration and Asylum Office informs foreigners that they will not be given food in the transit zone but can freely decide to return to Serbia at any time," the Hungarian Helsinki Committee wrote in a description of the policy. On the appeal of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) this month ordered Hungarian authorities to resume feeding asylum-seekers

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