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Clarification of EU/North Africa asylum project

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Clarification of EU/North Africa asylum project

01 October 2004

1 October 2004

GENEVA - The UN Refugee agency issued a clarification Friday in the wake of a number of misleading reports emerging about discussions at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council in Scheveningen, the Netherlands.

The erroneous reports suggest that UNHCR is involved in a European Commission-funded project to set up five reception centres in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. This is untrue.

The project which was referred to during the course of the JHA Council meeting, is a long-standing proposal made by UNHCR to the European Commission concerning the building or strengthening of asylum systems in North Africa - in other words promoting legislation, training of officials in refugee status determination, assisting NGOs in building their capacities etc. Reception centres do not feature at all in this project.

The false reports appear to result from confusion between this long-standing project proposal, which is part of UNHCR's so-called Convention Plus initiative, and entirely separate proposals made by various European ministers over the past few weeks.