Unaccompanied Minors? An analysis of the legal situation of abandoned children born in Hungary

Authors Mária TEMESVARI
In recent years changes in Hungarian citizenship policy and legislation have aroused public interest. The efforts of the Hungarian government to facilitate the naturalisation of ethnic Hungarians particularly encountered esistance from neighbouring countries,1 and was also viewed critically by some scholars.2 At the same time, the issue of unaccompanied minors has been high on the political agenda in EU Member States, including Hungary. Various EU institutions and bodies have commissioned studies and reports to analyse the situation in the European Union3 and an Action Plan was launched in order to ensure greater coherence and cooperation and to improve the protection offered to this vulnerable group.4 Nevertheless, a group of unaccompanied minor children, who do not fit into the traditional definition of unaccompanied minors in Europe, has been neglected. These children were born in Hungary of a foreign national, but of a Hungarian speaking and presumably ethnic Hungarian mother who subsequently abandoned the child in hospital shortly after birth. Despite liberal citizenship policy and an existing legal framework for the protection of unaccompanied minors, these children do not, for various reasons, obtain any nationality at or after birth and remain in a legal limbo for many months or even years. The aim of this paper is to explore the legal situation of these children in three areas: citizenship, immigration status and reception and care, and to analyse to what extent the current practices of the Guardianship Office and the Office of Immigration and Nationality is in compliance with Hungary’s international legal obligations, with Community law and, indeed, with domestic law. Particular attention will be paid to the obligations of Hungary as set out in the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. As an unclear citizenship status constitutes the main reason for their peculiar situation, we will also look at the possibility of granting Hungarian citizenship or stateless status.
Year 2012

Taxonomy Associations

Migration processes
Migration governance
Cross-cutting topics in migration research
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