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Editorial

The European Court of Human Rights’ shocking ruling against Europe’s security

| March 28, 2017

A recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights would make it practically impossible for Hungary to protect its share of the southern border of Europe’s Schengen Area. Hungary will appeal the decision, but at the same time, Europe should make it clear that the safety and rights of its own citizens come before the rights of illegals.

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Hungary should pay 18,705 EUR each to two Bangladeshi citizens, who were not allowed into the territory of the Schengen zone before a decision on their asylum request was finalized. The ruling undermines the only effective means a Schengen border country has to prevent migrants, unchecked and illegal, from moving freely throughout the European Union before immigration authorities determine their real identities, their intentions and the legitimacy of their asylum claims.

When one thinks about today’s war zones and other hot spots that cause people to flee and become refugees, Bangladesh is not typically at the top of the list. But when a person requests asylum at an international border, that request has to be taken seriously. According to the EU’s relevant regulations, the Dublin protocol and the Schengen agreement, such asylum claim must be made in the first safe country that the asylum seeker reaches, and he or she must stay in that country until the asylum claim is evaluated. During that waiting period, the asylum seeker must cooperate with the local authorities.

This story about our two, Bangladeshi asylum seekers exposes one of the biggest weaknesses of the European asylum system: there’s no way to enforce those rules or penalize the refusal to cooperate.

The two Bangladeshi citizens first reached Europe when they set foot in Greece, where they registered but did not wait for their asylum request to be decided. Instead, they continued along the Western Balkans migration route until they reached Hungary. At the border, they again requested asylum, apparently in the hope that they would be able to travel further into the European Union. They were denied entry and instead told to stay in the transit zone and await a ruling on their asylum claim.

This the ECHR found inhumane.

When asked about whether the decision was addressed at the recent EU Summit, Prime Minister Orbán said that it didn’t come up and probably because the heads of Member States realize that what Hungary is doing is also protecting them. “The people of Austria and Germany can sleep soundly because the Hungarians will protect Europe’s external borders,” he added.

Following the summit, Chancellor Merkel was asked to comment on the court decision. Her response? Asylum procedures in Hungary are “carried out according to European laws,” the chancellor said.

“The opinion of the court of human rights,” said János Lázár, minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, reacting to the ruling, “is that it shall not be Hungarians who live in Hungary” who decide, but instead it will be the Strasbourg Court, based on the recommendation of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee that represented the two Bangladeshi citizens, which will decide on these procedures. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is an internationally financed NGO with an open borders agenda.

It should of course be European citizens and their elected lawmakers who decide who gets to enter the country. Increasingly, leaders of the Member States are realizing that it’s impossible to determine who should be admitted without first conducting a proper background check and evaluation of the asylum claim. Furthermore, asylum seekers cannot be trusted to cooperate with the rules if cooperation is not enforced.

Today, Hungary’s laws say that asylum seekers must remain in processing centers until a decision is taken on their asylum claim. They are not allowed to leave unless they want to return to where they came from, in which case they are free to leave, but as long as they are requesting entry to Europe, they must wait until their case is decided and do not have the freedom to move.

The European Court of Human Rights says that’s inhumane. But many would disagree. It’s the very minimum that Europe must do for its own security. When the ECHR takes a decision like this against Hungary, it is ruling against the basic interests of Europe.