Posts Tagged ‘asylum’

‘Am Only Saying It Now’: New Report from AkiDwA

AkiDwa, a leading minority ethnic-led national network of African and migrant women living in Ireland, has published Am Only Saying It Now; a report which documents the experiences of female asylum seekers in Ireland, and gives space to a great deal of important direct testimony by women living in direct provision centres. Susan McKay, who is Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, contributed a very insightful response to the report to the Irish Times on Thursday. The report is short, accessible and thought-provoking. It recommends that:

• Gender guidelines in asylum and reception processes should be introduced and implemented [3]. Gender guidelines in asylum processes should be introduced into pending immigration legislation in Ireland.

• A mandatory code of conduct, a comprehensive training programme and Garda vetting should be introduced promptly and fully implemented for all personnel, management, accommodation owners and government department officials working with individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain in the direct provision accommodation system.

• Mandatory training and capacity building should be conducted on a regular basis with key providers of State services to individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain and should include gender based issues and the prevention of, and response to, abuse and exploitation.

• An independent, transparent and confidential complaint and redress mechanism should be fully put into place for individuals seeking asylum, protection and leave to remain, and made accessible to all residents in direct provision.

• An independent commission of inquiry should take place to assess the mental, emotional and physical effects of long term confinement of individuals seeking asylum, protection or leave to remain in Ireland

Guest Contribution: Saoirse Brady (FLAC) on the Direct Provision System

March 11, 2010 1 comment

We are delighted to welcome this guest contribution from Saoirse Brady, Policy and Campaigns Officer,  Free Legal Advice Centres. You can find out more about Saoirse on our Guest Contributors page.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the direct provision and dispersal system, FLAC launched its report One Size Doesn’t Fit All.   The report updates the 2003 FLAC report Direct Discrimination? which looked at the way in which asylum seekers and persons seeking other forms of protection were accommodated in Ireland, set apart from other destitute individuals.  The title of the report refers to the way in which the direct provision and dispersal system is operated: Residents are not treated as human beings but rather as a collective group without individual needs or personal circumstances.

Direct provision and dispersal was introduced as a nationwide policy in April 2000. It was introduced initially to alleviate the housing shortage faced by the Eastern Health Board due to the high numbers of people coming to seek asylum in Ireland.  Ireland is a party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and it is important to understand that anyone who comes to Ireland “to seek and to enjoy… asylum from persecution” is entitled to enter and remain here until a final determination is reached on their protection status.    Despite the dramatic decrease in the number of asylum seekers, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (DJELR) continues to operate the policy of accommodating persons seeking protection in centres where they are given three meals a day at set times and a weekly allowance of €19.10 for an adult and €9.60 for a child. This is the only social welfare payment never to have increased.

Read more…

Two Important New Reports on Minorities, Housing and Social and Economic Exclusion in Ireland

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Two important new reports have been published this month which may be of interest to readers.

Travellers’ Health Matters (available here with an accompanying briefing on Traveller accommodation and planning) links poor halting site accommodation to depression, anxiety, diabetes and kidney problems. Findings on the terrible living conditions at the Carrowbrowne halting site are available here. For further reports on Irish Travellers and government policy, see the website of the Irish Traveller Movement.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All (available here with a press release here) is a FLAC report which ‘critiques the system of direct provision and dispersal as one that serves the needs of bureaucracy rather than the needs and rights of a vulnerable group of people to whom the State has a defined duty of care.’ Media coverage of the report is here , here , here and here. Liam highlighted the issue of direct provision on this blog in SeptemberOctober and November of  last year and it was the subject of two posts in our Immigration and the Politics of Belonging carnival.

We hope to have further analysis of the issues covered in these reports in due course.

Izevbekhai Supreme Court Appeal to be Heard Next Year

November 14, 2009 1 comment


Thursday saw the latest installment in the long-running case of Pamela Izevbekhai (pictured above). Ms Izevbekhai first sought asylum in 2005 on the basis that her two young daughters Naomi and Jemima were at risk of female genital mutilation in their home country of Nigeria. See here and here for information on female genital mutilation and refugee law. Ms. Izevbekhai says that her eldest daughter Elizabeth bled to death as a result of the practice. The Times gives further details of the story here. A documentary on the case is on Youtube and details of a grassroots campaign in support of the Izevbekhais are here. Amnesty International, Residents Against Racism, the NWCI, Fine GaelThe Rape Crisis Centre and the Children’s Rights Alliance, have all at various points expressed support for the family.

Ms. Izevbekhai has been through the asylum process and her application has been rejected. In I v. MJELR [2008] IEHC 23 Ms. Izevbekhai asked the High Court to quash the deportation orders made by the Minister on foot of his decision to deport her and her daughters. The High Court failed to find any basis for judicial review and refused to quash the order. Ms. Izevbekhai has appealed to the Supreme Court. The State has brought a motion to have her appeal struck out on the grounds that fraudulent statements were made in her original High Court actions. The State sets out that a death certificate and medical documents used by her to evidence the death of her daughter Elizabeth’s death as a result of female circumcision were forgeries. Ms Izevbekhai represented herself on Thursday after her fourth set of lawyers sought to withdraw from the case, apparently because they had received certain threats, which are reportedly the latest in a series made to Ms. Izevbekhai and her supporters. A fifth legal team will take up her case in time for next year. Maeve Sheehan reported on this week’s Supreme Court proceedings in the Independent here. Ms Izevbekhai plans to rely on alternative documents in the course of her appeal. Her position is that while the documents were forged (she insists that her husband obtained them without her knowledge) the facts that they were used to prove are true. A series of conflicting media interviews with men claiming to be the doctor who attended Ms. Izevbekhai at the time of her daughter’s death have further muddied the waters in this respect, as has the Nigerian government’s much-disputed claim that female genital mutilation is unknown in Nigeria. The State has insisted on engaging with the case to the full extent permitted by the law, on the basis that Mrs Izevbekhai has engaged in ‘deception’ and has abused the asylum process. On Thursday, the Chief Justice ruled that due to the volume of cases waiting to be heard by the court, her appeal  could not be given the priority being sought by lawyers for the State. It will be heard next year.