Anti Poverty Network welcomes Oireachtas Committee Report declaring Direct Provision for Asylum Seekers “not fit for purpose”
The Board of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland, a network of national and local organisations fighting poverty, meeting today strongly welcomed the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions which says that
“…the Direct Provision System is not fit for purpose and (they) recommend that it should be replaced with a reception system that respects the dignity of all persons in line with best international human rights practice.”
Ireland is alone among EU member states in not allowing people to work while waiting for the state to decide on their asylum claims. To maintain this ban, Ireland has had to opt out of the EU Directive “laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers.”
Responding to the report, EAPN Ireland Chairperson Anne Loftus said:
“In years to come, we will look back on the system of direct provision with the same shame which we now feel about institutional abuse in the past.
“Confining people to a life where they are not allowed to work, to study as adults or even to cook for themselves and their families and to live on €19.10 a week is inhuman. It is designed to enforce poverty, deskilling and hopelessness and prevent people making a contribution to society into the future.”
The Board also called on the Ministers responsible to move without delay to implement the specific recommendations of the report (annexed to this statement) including those relating to increasing the allowance; the right to work for asylum seekers; transparency of the system to the Ombudsman for Public Service and the Ombudsman for Children and the application of the Freedom of Information Acts; and protection of health and children..
Anne Loftus continued:
“Asylum seekers in Ireland have suffered enough, and the reputation of our country has been tarnished. They cannot wait another few years – we need change now to bring us into line with acceptable human rights standards”