Open up safe and legal access to Ireland for refugees, says Irish Refugee Council
Posted On: June 20, 2016
Press Release, Monday 20 June 2016, World refugee Day
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) is marking World Refugee Day 2016 on 20th June 2016 by calling on all Irish politicians to urgently consider the opportunities for granting safe and legal access to Ireland to avoid the need for people to continue to risk their lives to find a place of safety and support. The call to politicians goes alongside a series of events in Dublin and elsewhere throughout the week which draw attention to the need for solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees.
In a document, Safe and Legal Pathways to Protection, sent to all TDs and Senators on World Refugee Day 2016, the IRC sets out the opportunities to provide for access to Ireland which would benefit those in need of protection and also the state as it seeks to engage in the current humanitarian crisis.
Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said, “The Irish Government responded to the immediate challenge of the current crisis by providing naval vessels for search and rescue in the Mediterranean and opting in to the EU relocation and resettlement programme. But that now needs to be followed by opening up the opportunities to provide a greater number of refugees safe and legal ways to travel to Ireland without placing themselves and their families at great risk. Safe and legal pathways also reduce the trauma and separation that comes from the very arduous journeys that refugees are otherwise forced to make.”
The IRC document includes options such as the use of humanitarian visas, an extended humanitarian assistance programme, increasing the number of people received under the EU’s relocation and resettlement programme, private sponsorship programmes and a fair and efficient family reunification procedure.
Conlan added, “Ireland is preparing to co-facilitate the UN High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants in New York in September. In preparation for that, the Government can demonstrate leadership by actively considering the opportunities for refugees and their families to settle in Ireland and responding humanely to the asylum seekers already in the country.”
Alongside the call for safer legal routes to Ireland, the IRC is also facilitating several murals across the city on the themes of #StandWithRefugees, #StopWarNotPeople and #EndDP and co-hosting a free community event in conjunction with BlueFire and Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland on Smithfield Square on the evening of Friday 24th June.
The IRC and Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland murals go on throughout the week and several other events are happening across the country to mark World Refugee Day 2016 in Ireland
The BlueFire/ Irish Refugee Council/Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland Smithfield Solidarity Session takes place on Friday 24th June starting at 5.30 p.m.