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Legal training on the rights of unaccompanied minors in the Hungarian asylum system


October 17, 2014, Hódmez?vásárhely – Hungary: A one day training seminar was held for the workers of the Hódmez?vásrhely state care home dedicated to non-asylum seeking foreign unaccompanied minors. Following last year’s intercultural management training, this year the participants were eager to learn more about the rights of the children who are placed in the state care home, close to the Serbian border. A prominent Hungarian organization, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee delegated two of its colleagues, namely Júlia Ivan, legal officer,and Tímea Kovacs, lawyer for the training.
Ten co-workers participated at the event, one of them being the guardian who is appointed to the children after their arrival to the home. The day started off with a quick introduction and clarification of the different categories and legal terms. Right after that, we touched upon the controversial topic of age assessment procedure. Participants were able to share their views and experiences on the current method, and the presenters shared what can be foreseen for the future in order to better protect the children who are already very vulnerable.

As a consequence of the frequent legislative changes there was an urgent need to clarify the new deadlines concerning the asylum procedures. This proved to be a very important part of the day as many practical and methodological questions were asked by the participants. The workers of the state care home are very dedicated, willing to learn and acquire knowledge in order to be able to better help the children. The training touched upon compulsory/non-compulsory school attendance, that used to be a big problem, but thanks to the great relations that the Director of the home nurtures with one of the school directors in Szeged, the children now attend school on a daily basis. The children expressed their interest in student working opportunities in Hungary, but as they are third country nationals the procedure is overly complicated, so it is not likely that they will be able to work before their status’ are clarified.
Presenters have dedicated sufficient time to clarify the Dublin III Directive and its provisions. Right now there is one child placed in the state care home, whose status will depend on the Dublin regulations, so the staff was eager to learn about the procedure and their options. During the entire day most topics were discussed through real cases in a very safe but open environment. According to the evaluation forms, participants left with sufficient knowledge about the rights of unaccompanied children, and most of them claim that they already have plans how to implement knowledge into their everyday work. (RS)