60th Anniversary of UN Convention an opportunity to reflect on our system

Posted On: 23 August 2011

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, says: “The 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention is an opportunity for us to reflect on whether we are living up to our international obligation to protect people fleeing persecution.  Reform of the Irish asylum process is long overdue and meanwhile the people who have come to Ireland for protection are suffering needlessly in a broken, costly system.

“In the 1950s, Ireland was amongst the first countries to welcome Hungarian refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion. Today, Ireland has the lowest acceptance rate for refugees in Europe. Just 1.5% of applicants for refugee status are recognised.  Applicants wait for upwards of three years for their claims to be processed, unable to work and compelled to live in hostel-style accommodation.

 “Currently, we are failing in our international obligations to those in need of protection.  Ireland has a proud tradition of offering refuge to those in need.  We need a just, efficient asylum system to allow us to continue this tradition.”