Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Berlin Halts Refugee Transfers to Hungary over Conditions

Germany said Tuesday it is refraining from transferring asylum seekers to Hungary under EU rules until Budapest gives assurances that the migrants would not be systematically detained.

Under the so-called Dublin rules, asylum seekers are meant to be sent back to the first European country they registered in.

But the United Nations and rights groups have urged EU nations to suspend transfers to Hungary after Budapest introduced a law in March to detain all asylum seekers, AFP reported

Germany's interior ministry said in a directive to the migration office that "in cases of Dublin transfers to Hungary, an assurance must be sought ensuring that the transferred person would be accommodated in accordance with EU norms."

"Without such a reassurance from the Hungarian authorities, the transfer should not take place," the ministry added, confirming a report published in German regional media group Funke.

Germany had initially waived Dublin rules for Syrian refugees at the height of the migrant influx in 2015.

But after the arrival of around one million people, public misgivings grew, forcing Chancellor Angela Merkel to take steps to limit the arrivals.

Last year, the figure dropped sharply to 280,000, largely due to the closure of the Balkan overland route and a fragile EU-Turkey deal to limit the mass influx.

Germany, along with other EU nations, also began sending back asylum seekers to Greece from mid-March as they assessed that conditions there have improved.

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