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UNHCR calls on Government to end homelessness among asylum seekers in report to UN committee

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UNHCR calls on Government to end homelessness among asylum seekers in report to UN committee

14 February 2024

In a written submission to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UNHCR has asked committee members to make a series of recommendations to the Irish Government relating to refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people in Ireland.

UNHCR’s key recommendations call for:
  • Ending homelessness among international protection (IP) applicants.
  • Eliminating reliance on tented accommodation for IP applicants.
  • Eliminating reliance on emergency accommodation for IP applicants and for unaccompanied children.
  • Applying the National Standards for accommodation to all state provided accommodation for IP applicants.
The latest Government figures indicate that almost 900 newly arrived international applicants to Ireland have not been offered state provided accommodation. In some cases, these individuals have no alternative but to sleep on the streets.

While UNHCR acknowledges that the Government is facing significant challenges securing suitable accommodation for new arrivals, it has a moral and legal obligation to meet the basic needs of people who come to Ireland seeking safety. This is an emergency situation which requires the Government to take extraordinary measures to ensure it can meet these basic humanitarian needs.

Separately, UNHCR welcomes the fact that the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has assumed responsibility for monitoring the quality of permanent accommodation centres for international protection applicants (the system formerly known as ‘direct provision’). However, the majority of applicants, more than 17,000, are accommodated in emergency centres across Ireland. These centres are not subject to independent inspections.

Additionally, close to 400 applicants continue to be accommodated in tented sites in three locations.  

The UN Committee will consider Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on Thursday, February 15 at 9am.  This is Ireland’s fourth periodic review under the Treaty; the last one having taken place in 2015. Watch live here.

Please see UNHCR’s full submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights here.