Nasc disappointment at International Protection Bill

Thu, November 19, 2015

NascLogoNewNasc welcomes the publication of the long awaited International Protection Bill 2015 this morning, which will bring into effect the ‘Single Procedure’, which we hope will streamline the protection application process and help end the excessively long applications times for those seeking asylum in the State.

However, in our initial examination of the Bill, we are extremely disappointed to find that the Bill does not incorporate any of the recommendations made by ourselves, other NGOs and key stakeholders working in the asylum and protection area, and by the Working Group on the Protection Process.

Nasc’s recommendations, made when the General Scheme was published in May of 2015, would have ensured that the equality and human rights of adults and children seeking protection in the State were safeguarded. The recommendations would also have ensured that Ireland would be brought back into line with the Common European Asylum System. This is particularly important now as Europe struggles with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of incoming refugees and asylum seekers.

Nasc CEO Fiona Finn:

“This was absolutely a missed opportunity to ensure that Ireland was operating in line with best practice in Europe and internationally. It was also an opportunity to show asylum seekers currently in the country that the Government was serious in its promise to them to significantly improve the protection system.”

“We are incredibly disappointed and extremely worried that the Bill falls down in several key areas in ensuring the human rights and equality of asylum seekers, especially children, are protected,” Ms. Finn continues.

There are several areas that Nasc are particularly concerned about in relation to the Bill, which were discussed in detail in our submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in their examination of the General Scheme for the Bill.

These include, for example:

  • The issue of detention
  • The strict guidelines on family reunification for those granted protection
  • The application of the best interest of the child principle
  • The right to work for asylum seekers
  • The treatment of vulnerable persons
  • The failure to bring us fully into compliance with all of the EU Directives on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

Nasc Senior Legal Officer Fiona Hurley comments:

“It is very disappointing to see that the recommendations made to the Justice Committee were not taken on board. In particular, Nasc are concerned about the erosion of family reunification rights in the Bill. It is most worrying that at the time of the greatest humanitarian crisis since WWII, the State would seek to limit safe and legal migration routes for non-nuclear family members of refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection.”

A more detailed analysis of the Bill will follow in the coming days.

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UPDATE:  Nasc’s Recommendations on the International Protection Bill, 2015 are available here.  Our Headline Observations are available here.