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Posts Tagged ‘direct provision’

‘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

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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.

FLAC to launch Direct Provision report

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Launch of Report: ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All’. Accompanied by a screening of Living in Direct Provision

18 February 2010

This event will take place on Thursday 18 February 2010 at 11am in the Georgian Suite, Buswell’s Hotel (23-25 Molesworth Street, Dublin)

Launch of ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All’

FLAC will launch their new report ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All’, a legal analysis of the system of direct provision and dispersal in Ireland, 10 years on. The report updates and elaborates on some of the key concerns about the system of direct provision and dispersal identified in FLAC’s 2003 publication, Direct Discrimination? and examines the system of direct provision in the context of government policy, domestic law and international human rights standards.

Screening of ‘Living in Direct Provision’

‘Living in Direct Provision is a series of short films speaking to a variety of issues affecting asylum seekers and families living in the direct provision system. Filmed over a 6 month period through digital storytelling workshops, the DVD was produced by Integrating Ireland and the Refugee Information service in collaboration with FOMACS.
The event will be chaired by Noeline Blackwell, FLAC. There will be contributions from Josephine Ahern, ISICI, Sue Conlan, IRC, and Saoirse Brady, FLAC. The launch also marks the UN’s World Day of Social Justice which falls on 20 February.

Tea, coffee and sandwiches will follow the launch.

As spaces are limited please RSVP to:

campaigns@flac.ie or at (01) 874 5690 by Friday 12 February 2010.

A regional launch will take place in Limerick on February 22 2010, see here for more.

FLAC: Social Welfare and the Protection Regime

November 16, 2009 5 comments

This is a contribution from Saoirse Brady, FLAC’s Policy & Campaigns Officer.

logoAsylum seekers and other persons seeking protection often appear to be excluded from Irish society.  In fact, the Irish government has taken a number of steps to ensure that persons within the asylum and humanitarian leave to remain process cannot easily integrate into Irish society.

By introducing the policies of direct provision and dispersal, the government has added to this sense of exclusion for individuals seeking asylum or another form of protection.  “Direct provision” is the scheme whereby asylum seekers and people seeking other forms of protection are given accommodation on a full-board basis with all their basic needs apparently provided for directly.  Direct provision residents receive a weekly payment of 19.10 for an adult and 9.60 for a child, unchanged since its introduction in 2001.  The dispersal scheme ensures that individuals who apply for asylum are dispatched to different parts of the country.  Often they are removed from residential areas or big towns and sent to remote or rural locations.  Transport is limited and given their meagre allowance, it is often difficult for them to leave their accommodation centres to socialise or interact with other members of Irish society.  This obviously has implications for the social inclusion of direct provision residents.  In its concluding observations to Ireland’s first national report, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted it “is concerned at the possible implications of the policy of dispersal of and direct provision for asylum-seekers” under article 3, which prohibits discrimination.

Furthermore, the integration of asylum seekers and other direct provision residents does not fall within the remit of the Office of the Minister for Integration, set up in 2007.

Read more…

Asylum Seekers, Migrant Workers & Budget 2010

November 11, 2009 1 comment

Mary HanafinFollowing up from Mairead’s post on campaigning groups and Budget 2010, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mrs. Mary Hanafin T.D. has remained tight-lipped about the suspected cuts to the social welfare budget (See the Minister’s interview with Pat Kenny on RTE‘s  The Frontline here). In a recession, those particularly on the margins will be affected. Government social support for asylum seekers was extraordinarily low in the dizzying heights of the Celtic Tiger, and there is no indication that those within the direct provision system will see this system discontinued or reformed-despite the pure economic benefits that could ensue (see a previous blog post on this here).

The condition of reception centres which cater for some 6,800 asylum seekers has recently been in the news (here and here). Asylum seekers in Sligo complained about the condition of a reception centre, due to a lack of hot water and lack of adequate hygiene facilities.

SVPIt is unlikely that Budget 2010 will see any increase in the stipend of €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child per week.  Saint Vincent de Paul has stated that there should be no decrease in this level of payment and “common decency requires the rate to be increased”.

Limerick Mayor, Kevin Kiely has stated that immigrants who cannot afford to pay for themselves should be deported from the country after three months. While it is unclear who precisely Cllr. Kiely was referring to, his comments should be challanged. For those seeking protection from the State, they are legislatively prohibited from working on pain of a fine and/or imprisonment. For those immigrants who had an entitlement to work in Ireland, often in the building industry and services sector, it sends a message that these people are simply a means to an end. Once maximum economic value was gained from these immigrants contribution to the economy, they are to be case aside and sent home. It will be interesting to see if debates on immigration, asylum and welfare protection will come to the fore in the coming weeks, in the lead up to Budget 2010.

I will be live blogging Budget 2010 on HRiI on December 9, 2009.  This will be followed by a blog carnival on December 10 2009 (International Human Rights Day) assessing the impact of Budget 2010 on human rights protections in Ireland.

Asylum Seeking Women and Direct Provision

October 28, 2009 1 comment

R and I AgencySome worrying news from Galway’s and Mayo’s rape crisis centres.  Asylum seeking women are being propositioned for sex outside reception centres. Aoibheann McCann of Galway’s Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) states that many of these women are vulnerable, after suffering rape in their countries of origin.  20% of those who report rape or sexual abuse to GRCC are asylum seekers.

Sen HealySenator Fidelma Healy Eames has called for random Gardaí (Irish police force) patrols outside direct provision centres to prevent men from preying on vulnerable child and adult asylum seekers. Senator Eames has also called for a more fundamental review of the direct provision system, noting that it costs  €27,000 to provide for an asylum seeker under this system, as compared to an average cost of  €18,000 per asylum seeker who is within traditional welfare state structures. (I have previously blogged on the direct provision system and asylum seekers, these posts can be found here and here).