Forced transfer of asylum seekers ignores rights, says legal group

6 July 2010

Legal rights group FLAC today described as "very worrying" recent developments around the announcement that some 150 people living in the Mosney direct provision centre are to be transferred with very little notice to other centres, saying it was concerned that the rights of very vulnerable people living under the state's care may be ignored.

FLAC will appear on Wednesday alongside migrant women's organisation AkiDwA at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence & Women's Rights to inform legislators about the operation of the direct provision system and the state's human rights obligations in this regard.

FLAC Director General Noeline Blackwell said "apart from personal upset, such mass transfer suggests that consideration has not been given to the circumstances of each person. If their individual needs were assessed, the people being transferred were certainly not consulted as part of that assessment."

"FLAC is working on direct provision because, as an organisation committed to equal access to justice for all people in Ireland, we use law reform to promote the human rights of those on social welfare. Through this work we became involved in assessing direct provision as an administrative scheme."

"We published a report in February this year where we examined the direct provision system under a human rights lens and found that it did breach some basic rights of the people it is supposed to protect. As we said at the time, the direct provision system treats those who living in hostels like units to be administered rather than people," said Ms Blackwell. "We must remember that many of these people will already have experienced forced separation from their loved ones in their countries of origin."

FLAC's report spotlighted the social exclusion of direct provision residents and called on the state to treat people awaiting a decision on their status fairly, allowing them to enjoy the basic rights to which all people in Ireland are entitled.

On Saturday it was reported that a spokesperson for the Minister for Justice and Law reform stated that "Ireland has and always will fully comply with its human rights obligations" in relation to asylum seekers. FLAC therefore calls on the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to ensure that the human rights of each individual person in his or her particular circumstance are fully respected and upheld.

FLAC and AkiDwA will appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee at 14:30 on Wednesday 7 July.


Editors' notes:

  1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an independent human rights organisation dedicated to the realisation of equal access to justice for all. It campaigns through advocacy, strategic litigation and authoritative analysis to contribute to the eradication of social and economic exclusion.
  2. The Reception and Integration Agency's (RIA) revised House Rules and Procedures document is available in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.
  3. For further information on the direct provision and dispersal system see the report issued by AkiDwA entitled 'Am Only Saying It Now': Experiences of Women Seeking Asylum in Ireland and FLAC's report One Size Doesn't Fit All: A legal analysis of the direct provision and dispersal system in Ireland, 10 years on.