Refugee reunification restrictions to be key subject of conference

Emily Logan, IHREC's chief commissioner
Emily Logan, IHREC’s chief commissioner

Government restrictions on families of refugees in Ireland eligible for reunification with their loved ones, and the threats facing unaccompanied migrant children, will be discussed at a conference in Dublin tomorrow.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is hosting an event titled Ireland’s Response to the Global Refugee and Migration Crisis: From International Protection to National Integration.

The international event will examine the State’s application of the International Protection Act 2015, which came into force in January 2017 and aims to bring a more unified approach to asylum applications.

While an approach which could cut delays has been welcomed, the Commission remains concerned over restrictions which see family members separated, and has challenged the State to ensure the provision of necessary resources to support community integration.

In her speech tomorrow, Emily Logan, IHREC’s chief commissioner, will say: “Ireland has a laudable record in promoting and protecting human rights on the global stage, the current difficulties presents an opportunity for Ireland to show the same moral leadership, and to arrest the disturbing and growing trend of regression from fundamental human rights values.

“According to Europol, at least 10,000 unaccompanied children have disappeared in Europe since arriving from conflict regions such as Syria. Among other things, what the images of Alan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh do is to emphasise the vulnerability of children and the stark reality that they are entirely reliant on others for support.

“Ireland can be a leader – drawing on the significant reforms introduced here – to ensure better protection and care in particular for separated children.”

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will provide a keynote address on how Ireland can move beyond humanitarian support to the national integration of refugees and migrants.

The conference will also hear from Ireland’s UN ambassador, David Donoghue; the Greek Ombudsman for Children, George Moschos; and the chairperson of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Anastasia Crickley.

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