Irish Refugee Council calls for an urgent review of the Refugee Applications Process

Irish Refugee Council calls for an urgent review of the Refugee Applications Process

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The Irish Refugee Council launched its report ‘Difficult to believe: the assessment of asylum claims in Ireland’  on Wednesday October 17th 2012. The report examines the asylum process in Ireland with a systematic review of documents which form the basis of what is known as the ‘Refugee Status Determination’ procedure in Ireland, in order to get a better understanding of why the majority of applications for refugee status in this country are refused. The UK acceptance rate is four times that of the average in Ireland. The evidence obtained in this study suggests that the process itself is responsible and, particularly where the Tribunal is concerned, there are reasons to believe that there is a ‘culture of disbelief’ that informs the approach that some Tribunal Members take.

Demonstrating credibility is one of the most difficult tasks faced by an asylum applicant. The research highlights the challenges that persist within the asylum adjudication process for those seeking protection in Ireland.

The CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, Sue Conlan said, “What disturbs me about our findings is the fact that many people who appear to have legitimate claims appear not to be receiving a fair examination of their claim and are as a result being denied protection. This report brings into the public domain critically important information by making publicly available credibility assessments by the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. I hope that we will now see changes to the asylum system, particularly in the appeals process, and that there will be realisation that the consequences of an error in the asylum adjudication process may threaten the liberty, security and even the life of an asylum applicant. We must have transparency and public scrutiny of the asylum process as a matter of urgency.”

Launching the report, Professor Rosemary Byrne,Director of the Centre for Post Conflict Justice, Trinity College, Dublin said: “There is cause for grave concern about Ireland’s protection record for refugees.  This research provides a critical insight into very straightforward and cost effective ways the asylum system can, and should be, strengthened to ensure that those coming to Ireland with a well founded fear of persecution in their country of origin can be guaranteed a fair assessment of their claims.”

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