Special reception needs of vulnerable groups


Country Report: Special reception needs of vulnerable groups Last updated: 19/04/23


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Section 2(k) of the Asylum Act identifies persons with special needs as including ‘unaccompanied children or vulnerable persons, in particular, minor, elderly, disabled persons, pregnant women, single parents raising minor children or persons suffering from torture, rape or any other grave form of psychological, physical or sexual violence.’

Furthermore, the Asylum Act provides that in case of persons requiring special treatment, due consideration shall be given to their specific needs.[1] Persons with special needs – if needed with respect to the person’s individual situation and based on the medical specialist’s opinion – shall be eligible to additional free of charge health care services, rehabilitation, psychological and clinical psychological care or psychotherapeutic treatment required by the person’s state of health.[2] As cited by the EUAA in its Asylum Report 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recommended Hungary to establish mechanisms to identify child soldiers so that they can be provided physical and psychological support.[3]

It is the duty of the NDGAP to ascertain whether the rules applying to vulnerable asylum seekers are applicable to the individual circumstances of the asylum seeker. In case of doubt, the NDGAP may request expert assistance by a doctor or a psychologist.[4] There is no protocol for the identification of vulnerable asylum seekers upon reception therefore, it depends on the personal judgment of the actual asylum officer whether the special needs of a particular asylum seeker are identified at the beginning or in the course of the procedure at all (see Identification). Until 21 May 2020, in the transit zone regime even obvious and visible vulnerabilities, such as pregnancy, old age, being an unaccompanied minor or disability were absolutely disregarded and only in exceptional cases were the applicants transferred to reception centres from the confinement and dire conditions the transit zones entailed.

NANE (Women for Women Against Violence), as an implementing partner of UNHCR, elaborated a case referral system and shared it with NGOs in November 2021. The objective was to inform NGOs on how to refer to NANE cases of persons of concern affected by and seeking support regarding sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and domestic violence. The referral mechanism targets beneficiaries and clients of civil society partners and UNHCR who are or have been victims of SGBV, including domestic violence. Once the person of concern has been referred to NANE, they receive crisis intervention counselling by NANE counsellors about domestic violence, partnership violence, sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. NANE also provided a risk assessment tool for NGOs who might be in contact with persons concerned.

In 2020, according to the Menedék Association, there was an extremely traumatised asylum seeker in Vámosszabadi for whom, upon instruction of the director of the camp, state psychological aid was also arranged. In 2021 and 2022, no significant incidents were reported.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are placed in special homes in Fót, designated specifically for unaccompanied children, where social and psychological services are available.[5] However, it is the responsibility of the authorities to conduct an age assessment, and often their level of expertise is dubious at best (see section on Identification). If the assessment mistakenly establishes that the person is an adult it renders the person incapable to receive all the services that a child would need.

Hungary has no specific reception facility for vulnerable asylum seekers except for unaccompanied children. Single women, female-headed families, and victims of torture and rape, as well as LGBTQI+ asylum seekers are accommodated in the same facilities as others, with no specific attention, while there are no protected corridors or houses. An exceptional guarantee for transgender asylum seekers set out by the law is that if the gender identity of the asylum seeker is different from their registered gender, this must be considered upon providing them with accommodation at the reception centre.[6]

Medical assistance for seriously mentally challenged persons is unresolved. Similarly, residents with drug or other type of addiction have no access to mainstream health care services.




[1] Section 4(3) Asylum Act.

[2] Section 34 Asylum Decree.

[3] EUAA, Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union, 2021, https://bit.ly/3H4FRCr, 257.

[4] Section 3(1)(2) Asylum Decree.

[5] HHC, Best Interest Out of Sight – The Treatment of Asylum-Seeking Children in Hungary, 17 May 2017, available at: https://bit.ly/2KwW6A4.

[6] Section 22 Asylum Decree.

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