Europe s role in the global refugee protection system

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Europe s role in the global refugee protection system Powered By Docstoc
					Europe’s role in the global
refugee protection system

       Chris Nash
       Legal Officer
             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
          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.
    What does ECRE do?
• Capacity-building:
   – ELENA: European Legal Network on
   – Eastern Europe
   – South East Europe
• Information
• Policy analysis and advocacy
   – ECRAN

    › Take the lead in promoting international solidarity
      and co-operation

    › Take a fairer share of the global responsibility
      for protecting refugees

    › Better share their responsibility
      between themselves

       An Agenda for Change
    › 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

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

       An Agenda for Change

    › Adapt border management
      to ensure access to Europe for refugees

    › Create legal channels
      to enable refugees to travel to Europe

       An Agenda for Change

    › 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

       An Agenda for Change
    › Welcome refugees

    › Celebrate cultural diversity

    › Afford refugees similar rights to nationals

    › Enable refugees to improve
      or adapt their skills from day one

       An Agenda for Change
   › Ensure return is safe, dignified and sustainable

   › Prioritise voluntary return
     over mandatory or forced return
   › 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
   › Monitor returns systematically

      An Agenda for Change
       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

          An Agenda for Change
       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)

          An Agenda for Change
       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

          An Agenda for Change
       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

          An Agenda for Change
       Communication on Strengthened
       Practical Cooperation
       • Single Procedure

       • Country of Origin Information (COI)

       • Particular Pressures

       • Asylum Cooperation Network

          An Agenda for Change
       ECRE’s Proposals

       • ECRE Way Forward paper "Towards Fair &
         Efficient Asylum Systems in Europe" (Sept
       • 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

          An Agenda for Change
       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

             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)

                 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

         • 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

                An Agenda for Change
                   Why change it?
         • 0.3% recognition rate in Greece, nearly 50% in
         • 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?!

                 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
         • Lack of information to applicants
         • Inconsistent, inefficient & resource intensive

                  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

                An Agenda for Change
            Fundamental flaws requiring
               more intrinsic reform
         • Lack of harmonisation and inequality of
           protection across EU – encourages secondary

         • 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)

                An Agenda for Change
            Replacing Dublin altogether

         • ECRE’s alternative system for determining
           which state is responsible for deciding a

         • Supported by the creation of meaningful
           financial burden-sharing instruments
         • Free movement for recognised refugees

               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

        An Agenda for Change
                 Shared goals?

• Working towards increased cooperation
  between states, intergovernmental and non-
  governmental organisations

       An Agenda for Change

  Brussels office                    London office

  205 rue Belliard, Box 14           103 Worship Street
  1040 Brussels                      London EC2A 2DF
  Belgium                            United Kingdom
  Telephone: +32 (0) 2 514 5939      Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7377 7556
  Fax :         +32 (0) 2 514 5922   Fax:         +44 (0) 20 7377 7586
  E-mail:       E-mail:

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