Human rights commission criticises ‘retrogressive’ measures on family reunification

Emily Logan
Emily Logan

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has restated its criticisms of key provisions of the International Protection Act 2015 to mark World Refugee Day today.

The Commission has branded provisions narrowing access to family reunification to people granted international protection as “retrogressive”.

It has seen a significant increase in the number of court cases seeking a declaration of incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to legal issues impacting asylum seekers and refugees, including family reunification - at least 13 cases this year.

The Commission has recommended a change in the law to Government and the Oireachtas, reiterating the need to facilitate safe and legal pathways to Ireland for family members of refugees.

Speaking to mark World Refugee Day, Chief Commissioner Emily Logan said: “The right to family life has long been recognised in international law, European Law and within Ireland’s Constitution. The right to family reunification flows from the right to family life.

“Once people are safe here in Ireland, their first concern is making sure their loved ones are also safe.

“The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is aware of an increasing number of legal cases being taken where people are contending that Ireland’s laws governing international protection are not compatible with human rights law.

“While there has been some welcome recent initiatives in the area of family reunification, such as the recent Humanitarian Admission Programme from the Department of Justice and Equality, which will allow a limited number of people from ten countries to apply for family reunification, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is seeking, on World Refugee Day, a more definitive approach to the law, which would afford refugees to Ireland the certainty that they can seek to reunite with family members.”

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