Submisson to Justice & Equality Joint Commitee

27th May 2019

Executive Summary

MASI is the collective Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, a platform for asylum seekers to join together in unity and purpose. As a group of people directly affected by the system of direct provision and as people who are currently undergoing the international protection application process, we, unlike experts and NGOs, are uniquely placed to offer direction to the Committee on Justice and Equality on these issues.

The content and recommendations in our submission are all directly informed by the experiences of members as asylum seekers; people who live every day of their lives under the dehumanising system of direct provision. The purpose of our submission is to gather together our collective experiences to inform the Justice Committee and to make a series of key proposals that will make the Irish State‟s asylum system compatible with minimum human rights standards.

Our recommendations are informed by a number of key principles:

  • Human rights are not gifts bestowed by governments and institutions; they are rights and entitlements that we all possess by virtue of being human. People cannot be treated as „less than‟ others and, indeed less than human, merely because of differences in nationality and citizenship.
  • The asylum system is obliged to uphold and vindicate the fundamental human rights of all international protection applicants, including family rights, the right to privacy, the right to education, the right to work, the best interests of the child, vulnerable persons, LGBT rights, women‟s rights, the right to religious freedom.
  • The role of the asylum system is to vindicate peoples‟ right to seek asylum and to live in safety in Ireland.
  • The rights of the child and the protection of children in the international protection system must be a priority of the asylum system.
  • Deportations are brutal and dehumanising can have no part of an ethical and human rights centred approach to asylum and migration.
  • People seeking protection in Ireland are entitled to live an independent life with their families in accommodation that upholds the rights to privacy, dignity, and integrity of the person.

Our key recommendations are:

  • Legal Process: The process of seeking asylum is first and foremost a legal process so it is essential that people receive all necessary legal advice and that the system is orientated towards vindicating peoples‟ right to seek asylum and to live in safety.
  • Work: The right to work must be immediate and unrestricted for all people seeking protection in Ireland.
  • Reception: People should be accommodated in reception for no longer than three months before moving into housing in the community.
  • Direct Provision: Direct provision should be abolished and people seeking asylum in Ireland should have access to the same housing supports via their local authorities as is the case for others.
  • Full and tuition fee free access to education and training at all levels must be available to international protection applicants.

We conclude our submission with a summary of the our recommendations that if implemented, would take Ireland away from the abhorrent and dehumanising system of Direct Provision and move towards a more humane asylum process.

Download full submission here :