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Executive Summary for July 14th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a report accusing Hungary of “cruel and violent treatment” of migrants, the reluctance of 10,000 Ivorian refugees to return from Ghana and the E.U. Commission’s proposal for a unified asylum system.

Published on July 14, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

‘Hungary Beats Refugees, Forces Them Across Serbian Border’

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Hungary of “cruel and violent treatment” of migrants in a report published on Wednesday.

The report alleges that Hungarian security forces have used excessive violence to forcibly send refugees back across the border to Serbia.

“Hungary is breaking all the rules for asylum seekers transiting through Serbia, summarily dismissing claims and sending them back across the border,” Lydia Gall, a researcher from HRW, said.

“People who cross into Hungary without permission, including women and children, have been viciously beaten and forced back across the border,” she added.

Refugees and migrants told reporters from the Associated Press on Wednesday similar stories of inhumane treatment by Hungarian police.

Hungary said it “rejects the claims” in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

U.N.’s Repatriation Plans for Ivory Coast Refugees

Over 11,000 Ivorian refugees living in Ghana are still afraid to return home despite five years of peace in Ivory Coast and an improved economic climate.

Although the international community has declared it safe to return, Ange-Pelagie Baya, an Ivorian refugee living in Ghana, told Agence France-Presse: “We would prefer to die of hunger rather than go back.”

A UNHCR-brokered meeting began on Tuesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast to plan for the repatriation of Ivorians who were displaced after post-electoral violence erupted in 2010-2011.

Ivory Coast’s social cohesion minister Mariatou Kone has pledged that “no one would be arrested on their return” and hinted at a possible amnesty for those who opposed the 2010 election of current president Alassane Ouattara.

Refugees claim those who have returned face harassment, arrest and subsequent imprisonment. “We can’t go back as long as the (Ouattara) regime remains,” said Baya.

E.U. Commission Proposes Common Asylum System

The European Commission proposed a unified E.U. asylum system and refugee resettlement scheme on Wednesday.

The proposal has drawn criticism from European officials and human rights activists who argue it would grant fewer refugees asylum in Europe, reported the Guardian.

The new plan would speed up procedures and deter refugees from “asylum shopping,” where refugees arrive to one E.U. member state and then move to another in “secondary movements” to find the best deal, according to the Associated Press.

The proposal also grants E.U. member states more latitude and offers them 10,000 euros ($11,000) for each refugee they resettle.

“The changes will create a genuine common asylum procedure,” said E.U. migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos in Brussels. It would be “generous to the most vulnerable, but strict to those who try to abuse it,” he added.

Currently, the E.U.’s asylum standards enable member states to decide “how they implement them, thereby creating many discrepancies,” he said. “This creates not only unequal treatment of asylum seekers, but also incentives for them to irregularly move to another member state to try and shop around.”

Jean Lambert, a British member of the European Parliament, accused the Commission of seeking to curb refugee rights and having “an obsession with punitive measures.”

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