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Europe’s role in the global refugee protection system Chris Nash Legal Officer.

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Presentation on theme: "Europe’s role in the global refugee protection system Chris Nash Legal Officer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Europe’s role in the global refugee protection system Chris Nash Legal Officer

2 What is ECRE? A pan-European network of 80 refugee-assisting non- governmental organisations in 30 European countries Finnish Members: –Finnish Red Cross –Refugee Advice Centre Executive Committee consisting of representatives from Member Agencies Offices in Brussels and London

3 ECRE’s Mission The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) is concerned with the needs of all individuals seeking refuge and protection within Europe. It promotes the protection and integration of refugees based on the values of human dignity, human rights and an ethic of solidarity.

4 What does ECRE do? Capacity-building: –ELENA: European Legal Network on Asylum –Eastern Europe –South East Europe Information Policy analysis and advocacy –ECRAN

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6 An Agenda for Change ›Take the lead in promoting international solidarity and co-operation ›Better share their responsibility between themselves ›Take a fairer share of the global responsibility for protecting refugees SHARING RESPONSIBILITY

7 An Agenda for Change PROTECTION IN REGION OF ORIGIN ›Strengthen protection in regions of origin ›Put human rights standards at the forefront of improving protection ›Improve protection in Europe as well as in other regions

8 An Agenda for Change ›Offer a long-term future to refugees through resettlement ›Start a national resettlement programme and expand existing schemes RESETTLEMENT ›Establish a Europe-wide resettlement programme led by the European Union ›Develop resettlement as a complement rather than a substitute for existing asylum systems

9 An Agenda for Change ›Adapt border management to ensure access to Europe for refugees ›Create legal channels to enable refugees to travel to Europe ACCESS TO EUROPE

10 An Agenda for Change ASYLUM SYSTEMS ›Give every asylum seeker a fair hearing ›Invest in better decisions early in the asylum procedure ›Monitor decision-makers to ensure refugees receive protection ›Share the best practice, not the worst

11 An Agenda for Change INTEGRATION ›Welcome refugees ›Enable refugees to improve or adapt their skills from day one ›Celebrate cultural diversity ›Afford refugees similar rights to nationals

12 An Agenda for Change RETURN ›Ensure return is safe, dignified and sustainable ›Only return people after a fair & thorough examination of their asylum claim ›Grant status & rights to asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected but who cannot return ›Prioritise voluntary return over mandatory or forced return ›Monitor returns systematically

13 An Agenda for Change CEAS A Common European Asylum System – fundamental objectives? 1)Achieving a level playing field for all asylum seekers entering the EU 1)Securing genuine burden sharing among EU Member States by reforming Dublin II

14 An Agenda for Change CEAS The rationale of harmonisation Common solution to asylum management in an EU without internal borders The Tampere goal of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) First phase minimum standards instruments (Temporary Protection, Reception, Qualification and Procedures Directives)

15 An Agenda for Change CEAS The reality of harmonisation Difficult negotiations – lowest common denominator approach Huge differences in quality and capacity of asylum systems across EU Varying recognition rates Unfair burdens – Dublin

16 An Agenda for Change CEAS The Hague Programme "Practical and collaborative cooperation" among Member States Develop "appropriate structures" to coordinate leading to European Support Office Reiterating goal of completing CEAS by 2010

17 An Agenda for Change CEAS Communication on Strengthened Practical Cooperation Single Procedure Country of Origin Information (COI) Particular Pressures Asylum Cooperation Network

18 An Agenda for Change CEAS ECRE’s Proposals ECRE Way Forward paper "Towards Fair & Efficient Asylum Systems in Europe" (Sept 2005) Staffing, training, COI, expert support teams, quality assessment mechanisms, EU support office Welcome frontloading and involving independent experts Concerns - transparency and accountability Importance of independent quality monitoring?

19 An Agenda for Change CEAS COI – next steps? Legal & political imperatives - Art 4 Qualification Directive & Art 7 Procedures Directive "Accurate, reliable and transparent" COI Common portal (limitations?) Common Guidelines (see UNHCR 2004 position) EU COI database Need to go further? - added value of EU Documentation Centre (more resource-effective, avoids duplication, and increases efficiency) Scope for Q&A panel/team of independent COI experts (REFINFO of Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board) Role of training (ACCORD COI Training Project) Role of monitoring (COI Monitoring Initiative in Central Europe)

20 An Agenda for Change Other areas of practical cooperation to improve RSD? Sharing best practice guidelines (e.g. on treatment of unaccompanied minors) Training and accreditation of decision-makers (e.g. on interview technique, working with interpreters, vulnerable groups, assessing credibility, international refugee law etc) Quality monitoring (UNHCR's UK Quality Initiative) Project-led delivery of Hague Programme objectives through ARGO or ERF (e.g. ARGO project to develop a European Asylum Curriculum (EAC) - reference group/role of independent experts) CEAS

21 An Agenda for Change The Dublin II Regulation Legal basis under Art 63 EC Treaty Replaced the Dublin Convention and entered into force on 17 March 2003 with its provisions becoming binding 6 months later in September 2003 Binding on all EU MS and additionally Norway and Iceland. Switzerland is in process of joining. Determines which Member State (MS) is responsible for examining an asylum application lodged by a third country national DUBLIN

22 An Agenda for Change Why change it? 0.3% recognition rate in Greece, nearly 50% in Austria Take the plight of Chechens – varying recognition rates and lack of psychiatric care facilities in Central Europe Consider the human cost Does it make sense? Germany: 30% Dublin cases – take back as many as transfer under Dublin?! DUBLIN

23 An Agenda for Change ECRE Report on Dublin II Individuals denied access to an asylum procedure and placed at risk of refoulement Increased detention to enforce Dublin transfers Splits families & prevents people joining relatives Harsh impact on separated children Lack of reception conditions e.g. for torture survivors Lack of information to applicants Inconsistent, inefficient & resource intensive DUBLIN

24 An Agenda for Change ECRE’s Call to VP Frattini Guarantee access to a full and fair procedure for all Dublin cases Better ensure family unification Exempt separated children from Dublin II Ensure adequate reception conditions and restrict use of detention Start the debate on need for fundamental reform DUBLIN

25 An Agenda for Change Fundamental flaws requiring more intrinsic reform Lack of harmonisation and inequality of protection across EU – encourages secondary movement Creates unfair burdens on states bordering EU and is in conflict with Art 63(2)(b) of the Amsterdam Treaty Prompts further restrictive controls on external borders (witness Ceuta/Melilla, Canaries etc) DUBLIN

26 An Agenda for Change Replacing Dublin altogether ECRE’s alternative system for determining which state is responsible for deciding a claim Supported by the creation of meaningful financial burden-sharing instruments Free movement for recognised refugees DUBLIN

27 An Agenda for Change Concluding Comments Reviving the spirit of Tampere EU should share best practice not worst laws Frontloading – better asylum management by creating fairer and more efficient procedures Access to protection Responsibility sharing and setting an example in the global context

28 An Agenda for Change Shared goals? Working towards increased cooperation between states, intergovernmental and non- governmental organisations

29 Brussels office 205 rue Belliard, Box Brussels Belgium Telephone:+32 (0) Fax :+32 (0) London office 103 Worship Street London EC2A 2DF United Kingdom Telephone:+44 (0) Fax:+44 (0)


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