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Chutes and Ladders: Nonrefoulement and the Sisyphean Challenge of Seeking Asylum in Hungary

  • Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall 103 (map)

Hungarian asylum law has devolved since the height of the 2015 refugee crisis, and Hungary’s government has violated its obligation not to refoule refugees, which goes against international human rights law. These recent developments in Hungary’s asylum law and policy demonstrate an extraordinary undermining of the refugee rights regime and serve as a case study of how a state can pervert its national laws to shirk its international and regional treaty obligations.

Professor Ashley Binetti Armstrong, the Dash-Muse Teaching Fellow at the Georgetown Human Rights Institute, will evaluate Hungary’s nonrefoulement duty in the context of international and European law, and will more closely focus on Hungary’s noncompliance with those nonrefoulement obligations in designating Serbia as a safe third country. Professor Binetti ultimately will demonstrate that the international community cannot ignore Hungary’s egregious conduct. If there is to be any hope for coordinated efforts to manage refugee crises and uphold the rights of asylum seekers enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention and human rights treaties, the international community must study how countries evade the global norm of responsibility sharing and devise solutions to hold rogue states accountable.