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The Rights of Others: Asylum Seekers & Direct Provision in Ireland Dr Liam Thornton

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1 The Rights of Others: Asylum Seekers & Direct Provision in Ireland Dr Liam Thornton

2 A. Introduction

3 Key Issues What is direct provision? Why is the system of direct provision problematic from a rights/ethics perspective? To what extent can international & European human rights law lessen rights differentiation? 3

4 The Right to Have Rights “[T]he national appropriation of ‘human rights’ – their entanglement with citizenship – has given rise to new categories of persons without rights, such as refugees, displaced and stateless persons. How are we to conceive of the rights of these people, whose number is in the millions in the world today?” President Michael D. Higgins, 06 June

5 5 B. The System of Direct Provision in Ireland

6 Protection Applicants

7 People in Direct Provision in Ireland

8 Time Spent in Direct Provision (Based on Initial Asylum App)

9 Why/How Was Direct Provision Established? Non Statutory Basis Abuse of welfare state Implied criminality Surveillance 9

10 10 C. Judicial Challenges to Direct Provision in Northern/Ireland

11 From the Irish Supreme Court “…the State makes available to [asylum] applicants an elaborate system of legal advice and free legal representation as well as social welfare or direct provision for their needs. All this is as it should be…” Mr Justice Hardiman, Lobe & Osayende v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2003] 1 I.R. 1 at p

12 From the Northern Ireland High Court Judicial Review by ALJ and Others NI Court would not send back asylum seekers to direct provision, why? Unable to work in the Republic of Ireland Forced to live in a communal direct provision hostel; The minor children, B and C, could “develop their own sense of belonging and separate identity” in Northern Ireland, which they could not do in direct provision centres in the Republic of Ireland; Significant physical and mental health issues amongst asylum seekers in direct provision; As a matter of UK policy, the children would not be returned to Sudan, but this is not automatically the case in Ireland. 12

13 Direct Provision before the Irish High Court C.A and T.A. (a minor) v Minister for Justice and Equality Key arguments of the applicants What next? 13

14 14 D. The Promise and Limits of Human Rights

15 International Human Rights Law Presumption that human rights apply to all equally, but legitimate and proportionate differentiation permitted Compare approach of the Committee on ESCR and Committee on Rights of the Child 15

16 European Human Rights Law European Union Law & Reception Conditions Directive European Court of Human Rights: Inhuman and degrading treatment 16

17 E. The Rights of Others: Asylum Seekers in Direct Provision

18 The Limits of Rights Discourse The Lack of National/Public Concern Justifying rights for ‘the others’ “Nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human” Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism,

19 For detailed analysis, see: Thornton, L. (2014) The Rights of Others: Asylum Seekers and Direct Provision in IrelandThe Rights of Others: Asylum Seekers and Direct Provision in Ireland 19


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