On 22 September 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in the case H.K. v. Hungary (application no. 18531/17). The case concerned the expulsion of an Iranian asylum-seeker after his irregular entry into Hungary. The applicant had irregularly crossed to Hungary after several attempts and reportedly asked for asylum. Nevertheless, according to the judgment, the applicant (and other seventy-six individuals during the same day) were removed from Hungary without receiving any information or documents.
The Court referred to its previous judgment in Shahzad v. Hungary (application no. 12625/17) to declare that, due to the similarities, the removal of the applicant in the present case at hand also amounted to collective expulsion within the meaning of Article 4 of Protocol no. 4 to the Convention in the absence of any decision and examination of the applicant’s individual situation. The ECtHR additionally noted that when the applicant irregularly entered the country and was subsequently removed, he was given no information as to whether or when he could access the Hungarian asylum procedure. The Court acknowledged that, in contrast to the Shahzad case, the applicant had eventually entered the transit zone to apply for asylum after months of waiting in Serbia and failed attempts or irregular entry; however, according to the ruling, this is not sufficient to change the consideration regarding the compliance of his removal with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). For these reasons, the Court concluded that the applicant’s removal was of a collective nature, which consequently violated Article 4 of Protocol no. 4 to the Convention.
Additionally, the Court also found a violation of Article 13 of the ECHR taken in conjunction with Article 4 of Protocol no. 4 to the Convention.