Words: Ellen Kenny
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has urged Ireland to abolish direct provision after “increasing delays” to replace the system.
Even if the Government have stopped talking about it, it’s still a problem.
In a review of Ireland’s human rights provisions by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the committee raised concerns about how Ireland treats its asylum seekers.
The UN raised concerns about the “significant delays” in processing applications for refugees. Latest figures from the Government suggest that 5,000 people have applied for asylum in Ireland so far this year. This figure does not include Ukrainian refugees.
It takes, on average, more than two years to process an asylum application to completion, according to the Department of Justice. There are nearly 12,000 people living in direct provision, including 2,800 children.
The committee flagged the increased use of emergency accommodation in Ireland as a major problem, as well as the conditions refugees face in these accommodations. The UN committee raised concerns about overcrowding, difficulty in accessing medical services and social protection payments.
They reported feelings of lack of safety due to sharing of communal areas. In particular, LGBTQI+ refugees have experienced “harassment and threats.”
The UN recommended that Ireland take measures to reduce the application process for asylum to six months. They also suggested introducing a “vulnerability assessments” for refugee applicants to assess the services they need as they are applying.
The UN reminded Ireland that they must keep accommodation centres in line with international standards. They outright urged Ireland to phase out the use of emergency accommodation soon and implement a new model of accommodation.
The Government announced delays in abolishing direct provision in May as staff responsible have been placed in charge of Ukrainian refugees.
Activists have repeatedly called out the double standard for Ukrainian refugees in comparison to those who currently reside in direct provision, especially when it comes to education fees for students and access to driver’s licences.
Recently, the Abolish Direct Provision Campaign have called out the Government for delays in providing asylum seekers with PPS numbers. Without a PPS number, asylum seekers cannot access financial assistance and must rely on their accommodation for food and clothing.
The Abolish Direct Provision Campaign have recently been protesting in Westmeath, as hotel owners have allegedly been moving asylum seekers into Aramark tents in Clare.
Elsewhere on District: Pregnancy Kit Project launched for mothers and babies in direct provision