New coalition of non-profits formed to ensure Direct Provision ends by 2024

Group wants alternative system ‘fully compliant’ with human rights standards

Direct Provision centre in Mosney Co Meath, for refugee asylum seekers. Photograph: iStock

Direct Provision centre in Mosney Co Meath, for refugee asylum seekers. Photograph: iStock

 

A group of non-profit organisations have joined together to ensure the Government fulfils its commitment to ending direct provision by 2024.

The coalition, named Stand Against Direct Provision (STAD), was launched on Wednesday morning and includes Amnesty International Ireland, Nasc, Crosscare Refugee Project, Cultúr, Doras, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish Refugee Council and Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI).

The group aims to have the system of direct provision replaced with an alternative that is “fully compliant with human rights standards.”

An immediate priority is having all emergency centres closed while the Government sets up alternative systems of accommodation, as well as reducing processing times for international protection application and appeals, which now stand at 24 months for non-prioritised cases.

The coalition is also seeking for the State’s healthcare watchdog, Hiqa, to be given the mandate for independent inspections of direct provision centres until the new permanent system comes into force.

Urgent measures identified in the “Catherine Day” report should be immediately implemented, the group said.

These include an increase in the daily expenses allowance, making the right to work available after three months and making a comprehensive vulnerability assessment available to everyone.

Chief executive of Nasc, Fiona Finn, said there had been “miniminal progress” in putting an end to direct provision in the year since the Government released its White Paper on the issue.

“Worse – no timeline has been published. We have come together and identified what needs to happen for this to be achieved, and we will now focus on putting this into action,” Ms Finn said.

“We will be keeping pressure on politicians and relevant public officials to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to fulfil their commitment.”

Echoing Ms Finn’s comments, Nick Henderson, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council said “it is well established that this system does not work and harms people. It has failed and it needs to end.”

“It is vital that the Government commitment to end direct provision by 2024 is met – irrespective of changes to government or any political events that may arise,” he said.

Bulelani Mfaco, spokesperson for the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, said the coalition would be “an important platform for civil society to publicly condemn direct provision and ensure the Government knows that Irish society demands a more humane asylum process grounded in protecting everyone’s.