The Law Society of Ireland is calling for an end to the non-statutory system of direct provision stating that the proposed new system "must be grounded in the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family life." The call comes ahead of UN World Refugee Day on Sunday 20 June.
In a recent submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Law Society outlined the following recommendations to reform the direct provision system in Ireland:
- Ensure an end to direct provision and the timely introduction of an alternative system for accommodating and supporting those seeking international protection in Ireland.
- The new system should be supported by legislation to ensure that it is appropriately rights-based and includes remedies where identified standards are not met.
- The State to have due regard to the fundamental Constitutional right of personal liberty and freedom and its international obligations in respect of the treatment of immigration detainees and international protection applicants.
Chairperson of the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equality Committee, Sinéad Lucey said, “The Law Society has called for an end to the non-statutory system of direct provision for many years and recommended the introduction of an alternative system for accommodating and supporting those seeking international protection in Ireland. This new system must be grounded in the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family life.”
“The reforms outlined in the recent Government White Paper are to be welcomed but it is concerning that the proposed new system still lacks a legislative foundation. Reform has taken place on a policy level but we must move away from the non-statutory structure of direct provision that has been in place since its inception. We need a system that cannot be changed on an ad-hoc basis or without legislative oversight.”
Legal guarantees to minimum standards needed
“Ireland has made a commitment to meet the minimum standards outlined in the EU Directive on Reception Conditions. It is our hope that Ireland would go beyond the minimum, and we want to avoid the lack of clarity around minimum standards that currently exists. Any system which is based on the principles of human rights must include certain legal guarantees as to minimum standards. It must also provide legal remedies for any failure by the State to achieve those standards. National law and policy needs to be assessed against the requirements of the Directive to ensure that it has been properly transposed into national law. It is presently questionable whether applicants are provided with an adequate standard of living or whether the inability for some asylum seekers to secure a driving license is acting as an indirect barrier to the labour market contrary to the requirement of the Directive,” Ms Lucey explained.
“On World Refugee Day, we have an opportunity to redouble our efforts to create a new system that safeguards the human rights of individuals and families who may have no choice but to leave their home country and start anew elsewhere. The Law Society looks forward to implementation of the new system over the coming years and the assessment of the impact of that reform,” Ms Lucey concluded.
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