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UNHCR calls for full implementation of McMahon recommendations ahead of UN appearance

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UNHCR calls for full implementation of McMahon recommendations ahead of UN appearance

2 December 2019

Preventative measures to guard against backlogs and the introduction of an independent inspection mechanism, both recommended by the 2015 McMahon report, should be introduced as a matter of urgency according to UNHCR.

Ahead of Ireland’s appearance before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 2 and 3 December, UNHCR has called on the government to take concrete measures to improve reception conditions for asylum-seekers in order to eliminate the use of emergency accommodation and fulfil its obligations under Article 2 and 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

“Adequate and dignified reception conditions are a crucial prerequisite of a fair asylum procedure” said Enda O’Neill, Head of Office with UNHCR. “However, the current lack of accommodation capacity is severely hampering the ability to find appropriate accommodation for asylum-seekers.

Although people have valid concerns about the inconsistency of services provided across direct provision centres, Ireland needs to first and foremost provide basic necessities for people arriving in Ireland in search of international protection.”

Since September last year, asylum-seekers have been increasingly placed in emergency accommodation (temporary B&Bs and hotels) due to capacity shortages in the Direct Provision system. The numbers of people living in emergency accommodation have grown to almost 1,500 in the last 14 months.

“Appropriate contingency planning that anticipates the number of asylum applications, in addition to the introduction of an independent inspectorate, will ensure that accommodation of a sufficient standard is procured in a timely fashion.

“Significant improvements have been made to the direct provision system since 2015. Financial allowances have increased to the amounts recommended in the McMahon Report and a relatively unfettered system of access to the labour market after 9 months has been introduced. However, these improvements will be hampered if we are not in a position to find accommodation for people."