NGOs Welcome Justice and Equality Committee report on Direct Provision
Three organisations working on refugee and migration issues are welcoming the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee’s report on Direct Provision, published today. Irish Refugee Council, Immigration Council of Ireland and Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre each presented to the Committee in June.
The findings of the report today are stark; clear deficiencies and inadequacies in both the reception and protection systems have been highlighted. Overall, members of the Committee have found that the Direct Provision system currently in operation is gravely flawed and in need of replacement or root and branch reform. However, the report also offers clear, comprehensive and solution-based recommendations, which if implemented would radically improve the daily lives of asylum seekers in Ireland. The release of this report is timely in that it will inform the work of the independent Advisory Group currently examining the protection process as well as the system of direct provision.
Report available here.
Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “We strongly welcome this report. The Committee heard from a spectrum of organisations and people. Most powerful was the evidence of those actually living in Direct Provision. The report is a clear vision of how to improve our treatment of people seeking asylum: what needs to change and improve. Importantly it also represents a clear cross party agreement on this approach.”
Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, said: “We strongly welcome the support by the Committee for the immediate implementation of the National Standards and the clear recommendation that HIQA be named as independent inspector of direct provision centres. It is imperative that the State does not backtrack on the commitments made to improving the living conditions of international protection applicants in the McMahon Report. With the current use of emergency accommodation and the urgent need for long-term accommodation places, we must be vigilant against regressing to ‘more of the same’ model of institutionalised settings in for-profit direct provision centres. The Committee’s endorsement of ‘own-door’ accommodation is particularly welcome in this regard and reinforces the findings by the Faculty of Paediatrics this week direct provision is not an appropriate environment for children to grow up in and calling for families to have ‘own-door’ accommodation and private living spaces. The overwhelming consensus is now that direct provision is not fit for purpose and we urgently need to invest in alternative accommodation arrangements.”
Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said: “Victims of trafficking are among the most vulnerable and forgotten in the discourse around direct provision. Very few countries are conflating asylum and trafficking as we currently are, and direct provision accommodation is entirely unsuitable for their needs. We welcome the interest the Committee took exploring the specialised needs for this population and reiterate the short-term requirement for self-catered, private rooms within the system and a longer-term plan for a model of sheltered housing which specialises in trafficked sexually exploited women.”
Nick Henderson: CEO, Irish Refugee Council, 085 8585559
Fiona Hurley: Policy & Communications Manager, Nasc, 087 104 3284
Pippa Woolnough: Communications & Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland 085 8640682
INFORMATION FOR EDITORS
2. The National Advisory Group on the Provision of support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection is an independent group established by the Department of Justice, and chaired by former European Commission secretary general Catherine Day, to examine whether the existing system of supports given to asylum seekers, including direct provision, is fit for purpose. Nasc is one of the members of the Advisory Group.
3. In 2015 the Working Group on Improvements to the Protection Process including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (chaired by Mr Justice Bryan McMahon) reported to Government identifying many problems and issues of concern. The report, known as the McMahon report, contained 173 recommendations for improvements to the protection and reception systems.
4. The Faculty of Paediatrics, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland published a position paper on Direct Provision on 11/12/2019. The full report is available at https://static.rasset.ie/documents/news/2019/12/direct-provision-position-paper-full-final-pdf.pdf