Special vulnerabilities of asylum seeking children brought to light in Special Rapporteur’s Report

Posted On: August 9, 2012

 The Report of the Special Rapporteur on Children brings to light the special vulnerabilities of children in the asylum process says the Irish Refugee Council.  In particular, the Report exposes the protection risks and negative impact of the institutionalised system of accommodating asylum seekers, known as Direct Provision.

 Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, says: “The Report clearly identifies the problems with compelling families to raise their children in Direct Provision, where they experience over-crowding, institutionalised poverty and parents are effectively deprived of the ability to provide their children with a normal family life.

 “The IRC has been concerned for some time with the number of protection referrals for children in Direct Provision.  In a setting where families, single parents and single adults share cramped accommodation for prolonged periods of time and parents have no control over who comes into contact with their children, the risk of child abuse is grave.”

The IRC welcomes the Report’s call for research into the specific vulnerability of children in Direct Provision. 

 “Direct Provision needs to be reformed to provide child-safe accommodation for asylum seeking families. In the interim, the state should immediately implement independent inspections of Direct Provision centres, possibly through HIQA, and an independent forum for families to make complaints by expanding the remit of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children,” adds Sue Conlan.

 

-ENDS-

 

Further information:

Sharon Waters                  085 8585 510 / 01 764 5854

Sharon@irishrefugeecouncil.ie

 

Notes:

  • ·         Sue Conlan is available for interview.  Contact Sharon Waters – 085 8585 510.
  • ·         The IRC works to promote best practices for the protection of the rights of children and young people, including separated children, at a national level through awareness raising, policy development, networking and advocacy.
  • ·         Direct Provision is the system of accommodation and support for all asylum seekers in Ireland.  Under the system, asylum seekers receive meals and accommodation and a weekly allowance of €19.10 for adults and €9.60 for children but do not receive social welfare and are not entitled to work.  The vast majority of centres are former hostels, hotels and holiday camps and were never intended for long-term residence.  Due to the lengthy delays in the asylum process, the majority of residents have been living in Direct Provision for more than three years.
  • ·         At the end of March 2012, there were 5098 recorded by the Reception and Integration Agency as living in Direct Provision.  1,789 of these, or 35%, are children.