World Refugee Day Deportations

World refugee crisis
As Sophie Magennis, head of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees Ireland  writes in the Irish Times, "2011 was a record year for forced displacement across borders, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000. A major humanitarian crisis in late 2010 in Ivory Coast was quickly followed by others in Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere. Worldwide, more than 42 million people ended 2011 as refugees, internally displaced or in the process of seeking asylum".

More Irish applicants denied
Meanwhile fewer and fewer applicants are granted asylum in Ireland each year. Of over 6,000 currently waiting to be assessed, the figures actually granted asylum given for the years 2008 – 2011 were 586, 393,157 and 132 respectively as reported in the Dáil this month. Meanwhile "a startling number of applicants for international protection in Ireland, approximately a third of whom are children, continue to live in residential institutions on a long-term basis" reports the Irish immigrant support centre. 1,339 people have lived in residential institutions known as “direct provision centres” for five years and more, the Dail was told in response to a recent question from TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh at Nasc’s request.

Ireland critised by UNHCR
One reason for this is that Ireland, as criticised again by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has a uniquely lengthy and over-complex system for processing asylum applications. As Sophie Magennis explains "all other EU member states have a “single procedure” for asylum applicants to follow". Under the Irish system asylum applications are assessed instead first by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner on grounds of potential discrimination on race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion. Appeals are then referred to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and/or reviewed by the High Court. "Only then can an asylum seeker raise their fear of returning home on the basis that they may suffer from torture, the death penalty or indiscriminate violence because of the conditions in their country".

This has a huge human cost. Ireland is also almost unique in refusing asylum seekers the right to work. As Ms Magennis points out, while waiting three years and often much longer for this process to be completed,
"The wait takes a heavy toll. Asylum seekers cannot work or access third-level education... The system was designed for stays of six months or so. At a certain point, not being able to cook for one’s children or sharing a bedroom with growing children become real problems. The bar to accessing employment or advanced studies is grinding. Asylum seekers without an answer to their case cannot return home if they fear persecution or if home is a war zone. So they are stuck.. and the State must bear the cost of accommodating them for prolonged periods".
Deportations on World Refugee Day
Rather than being used to highlight and improve this record, World Refugee day (20th June) was marked instead by a series of enforced deportations as reported by the Anti Racist Network Ireland. ARN have spoken to eye witnesses in three locations who report a number of forced deportations of women and children early in the morning.  These included a number of children born in Ireland.

ARN have received reports which suggest that "another mass deportation to Nigeria took place after many Direct Provision centres were raided by the GNIB early in the morning. We have been informed that people including women and children were taken in Carriick-on-Suir, Cork and Portlaoise".

One eye-witness reports that a woman was taken outside wearing only a track suit pants and bra and  "handcuffed front of early age children who were visibly distraught. As she had recently undergone a serious stomach surgery, the scar opened and started bleeding"

For a fuller report on these events and to join a petition visit the Anti Racism Network Ireland blog here.

For more information on asylum seekers in Ireland visit the Nasc Irish Immigrant Support Centre website here.

No comments:

Post a Comment