Access to reception centres by third parties


Country Report: Access to reception centres by third parties Last updated: 19/04/23


Hungarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

Reception centres are open facilities and residents may leave the centre according to the house rules of the facility and are able to meet anyone outside. Family members do not often come to visit in practice, but they can enter the reception centres provided the asylum seeker living in the centre submits a written request to the authorities. If the family member does not have any available accommodation and there is free space in the reception centre, the management of the centre might provide accommodation to the family member visiting the asylum seeker.

There are only specific NGOs (listed in other sections on Reception Conditions above) who have a regular access to the reception centres without any issues. The former IAO unilaterally terminated the cooperation agreement (concluded in 1998) with HHC on 2 June 2017. The agreement entitled the HHC to enter reception and detention centres and conduct monitoring visits, to provide free legal counselling for asylum seekers and to request statistical data. As a result of the termination of the cooperation agreement asylum seekers do not have access to legal assistance on the premises of the reception centres. They may only meet the lawyer in front of the reception facility or within the facility provided that asylum seekers request for a meeting or they are already represented by the attorneys.

UNHCR has full access to these facilities and does not need to send any prior notification to the NDGAP before the visit.[1] UNHCR visited Balassagyarmat once in 2022 and IOM twice, in order to provide information on voluntary repatriation programme. No other organisation visited Balassagyarmat in 2022.

As a result of preventive measures introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, access of private persons (such as family members) was suspended. Since 2020, entrance to reception centres is possible only in gloves and wearing a mask, after a body temperature control, a COVID-19 symptom checklist and with disinfected hands disinfected. Furthermore, social distance was to be maintained. The NDGAP further stated that the reception centre premises are regularly disinfected and several disinfector soaps were distributed among the residents.[2] Between mid-March and end of June, as well since November 2020 NGOs have been denied access due to pandemic measures. In 2021, according to the Menedék Association, between January and July, as well as since November visits were suspended. In 2022 visits were only possible by those directly involved in the care of the persons placed in the host establishment.[3]




[1] Act XVI of 2008, Agreement between the government of the Republic of Hungary and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Article II, point 5.

[2] Information by the NDGAP on 7 February 2022.

[3] Information by the NDGAP on 13 February 2023.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation