September 2, 2015

Change in Czech refugee policy

Czechs cease to detain Syrians who applied for asylum in Hungary

Prague, Sept 2 (ČTK) — The Czech Republic will stop as from today sending the citizens of Syria who applied for asylum in Hungary to detention facilities, foreigner police spokeswoman Kateřina Rendlová has told the Czech News Agency.

She said the police will question them and offer them asylum in the Czech Republic. Unless they accept it, they will have to leave the country within seven days and their way to Germany will be faster, Rendlová said.

Syrian citizens constitute a big portion of the migrants the police catch on Czech territory. Most of them want to go on to Germany.

Czech NGOs have repeatedly criticized the detaining of migrants. They said it does not fulfill its purpose, is inhuman and at variance with international conventions.

“It is alarming that families with small children or children without families are detained in many cases,” the Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations in the Czech Republic said.

According to the Dublin Regulation, the Czech Republic returns the migrants to the country in which they applied for asylum and through which they entered the EU. Before this, they usually spend 42 days in detention facilities. Afterwards, they are released and they should leave for Hungary, from where they arrived. However, Hungarian authorities do not manage the influx of migrants and Hungary does not take them back.

Rendlová said the police will accompany the migrants who will not be interested in Czech asylum to the railway station.

She said the new measure has been taken in reaction to that Hungary is not taking the migrants back.

Rendlová said it will also apply to the Syrians who have already been sent to detention facilities and who fulfill the conditions allowing them to continue their way.

It will not be applicable to the citizens of Syria who did not apply for asylum in Hungary before they entered Czech territory, Rendlová said.

She said they will be treated according to the rules valid until now, that is they will be sent to detention facilities.

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