Special reception needs of vulnerable groups


Country Report: Special reception needs of vulnerable groups Last updated: 15/04/21


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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]

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 might request expert assistance by a doctor or a psychologist.[3] 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 comprised.

In 2019, a lethally ill child and her family members were placed in Vámosszabadi after having spent more than 3 months in the transit zone. According to the Menedék Association despite of the nurse being helpful and cooperative the leadership of the reception facility were not inclined to effectively cooperate regarding the treatment of the child. The intercultural mediator of the NGO accompanied the family to check-ups taking place in Budapest, however the family left the camp in the beginning of August. In Vámosszabadi a family with a baby asked for a feeding-bottle and an electric kettle but the facility could not provide them, therefore the Menedék Association supplied the necessary equipment. In 2020 as per the Menedék Association there was an extremely traumatised asylum seeker in Vámosszabadi for whom upon the instruction of the director of the camp state psychological aid was also arranged.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (prior to 21 May 2020 only children below the age of 14) are placed in special homes in Fót, designated specifically for unaccompanied children, where social and psychological services are available.[4] 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 or prior to 21 May 2020 that the child is above fourteen, it renders the person incapable to receive all the services that a child would need. In 2017, the HHC published its report “Best Interest Out of Sight – The Treatment of Asylum Seeking Children in Hungary”, detailing the problems child asylum seekers face in this regard.[5]

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 gay, lesbian or transgender 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 his registered gender, this must be considered upon providing him/her 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]        Section 3(1)(2) Asylum Decree.

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

[5]        Ibid.

[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