Roma from Romania seeking asylum in Hungary

05 January 1999

The group of Romanian Roma seeking asylum who arrived in Hungary on September 18 was followed by another one arriving on October 1 from the Romanian town of Reşiţca to the Hungarian refugee camp of Debrecen. In total eighty-two Romanian Romani people asked for refugee status from the Hungarian authorities.

"It was hard work, but finally we managed to convince them that they had no chance of receiving refugee status", said Sándor Nagy, head of the local branch of the Office of Refugees and Migration. Next day, the Romanian Roma left the camp. As the staff of the Office of Refugees and Migration told the ERRC, they managed to find out from the asylum seekers that they were told by a travel agency in Reşiţca, close to Timişoara, that they would receive refugee status in Hungary.

"The agency, Delfin SA Firmo, claimed that applicants would receive a paper within two days that would enable them to settle and find employment in the United States or Canada", said Sándor Nagy.

Many of the eighty-two Roma who arrived in Hungary from Romania went back at the end of October, but fifty-seven of them appealed the decision on their application.

By January 7, 1999, according to Dr László Zeke, the lawyer appointed by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, fifty-one of them had realised that they had no chance of a positive decision and had left the camp. The six who remained in the camp were waiting for the court decision. (ERRC)


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