UNHCR announces the formation of the Irish Refugee Advisory Board

 

The Irish Refugee Advisory Board.  © UNHCR/Aoife Harte

 

UNHCR is delighted to announce the formation of the Irish Refugee Advisory Board.

The 8-member group is comprised of people originally from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, South Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. A refugee led group, the Board’s aim is to ensure that the voices of refugees are heard in policy decisions that affect them. In doing so, it will discuss issues that affect their communities and propose solutions to them.

To read more about the board members, please click here

 

General Background

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) calls for refugees to be directly involved in the pursuit of the GCR’s objectives. The Board consists of a diverse group of refugees who are active and interested in undertaking a number of advocacy activities.

It is expected that the Board will build on the skills and capacities of forcibly displaced people and actively pursue innovative ways to amplify their voices. Over time, it is hoped that the members will become experienced and recognized leaders who represent their communities.

Selection Process

An advertisement for applications to the Irish Refugee Advisory Board was published in late 2021. A competitive interview process followed, with two members of UNHCR staff and four former refugees sitting on the interview panels.

Applications were invited from people who resided in Ireland and were:

·        a beneficiary of international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection);

·        a resettled or programme refugee;

·        a beneficiary of permission to remain in Ireland on the basis of family reunification or

         statelessness status;

·        or a naturalised Irish citizen who previously met one of these criteria

In order to ensure the composition of a representative group of people, the board was selected in accordance with UNHCR’s Age Gender and Diversity policy.  

Board Objectives

It is expected that the advisory board will represent refugees’ interests in Ireland through participation in policy debates and processes at local and national level by:

·        promoting refugees’ access to rights in their communities;

·      Identifying gaps in legislation, policy implementation, administrative barriers hampering the full enjoyment of rights of beneficiaries of         international protection in Ireland and proposing changes to alleviate them;

·        Promoting positive examples of refugee integration and contributions to Irish society;

·        Raising awareness of refugee issues in the media in order to fight prejudice and stereotypes, and prevent and fight discrimination.