Immigration Control Platform


Geneva Convention relating to Refugees (1951)

Why does Ireland have to allow into the country, to be processed, every person who says "I am seeking asylum."?. The answer is that we have signed the Geneva Convention (1951). Under that Convention anyone who "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country" must be granted refugee status. But we are only bound by the Convention for as long as we choose to be bound by it. Article 44 of that Convention gives every country which signed it the right to give 12 months notice and withdraw from it; hence our call for Charter 44.

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Dublin Convention (1990)

Because of the abuse of the asylum system, with asylum-seekers who fail to get refugee status going from one European country to another, or picking on the country softest on asylum or with the best procedures, the Dublin Convention was agreed between EU countries. Basically, it says that an asylum-seeker must apply for refugee status in the first EU country in which he arrives. If he does not he may be sent back to the first EU country in which he arrived.

It is generally agreed that the Dublin Convention has not been working very well.

"There is a common appreciation among most EU Member States that the Convention is not working as it should. Far too few asylum cases in the EU are coming within the scope of the Convention. The Convention is particularly difficult to apply in circumstances where the asylum-seeker is undocumented and is unable or unwilling to provide information which would help establish that another Member State is responsible". (British White Paper on Immigration and Asylum 1998)

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The Irish Refugee Act (1996) - amended by the Immigration Act (1999)

It should be noted that, having been initially drafted before the asylum-influx grew so large, and when politicians were falling over themselves to be "politically correct" to the nth degree, it defines a refugee in even more generous terms than the Geneva Convention. Thus, it says, "membership of a social group includes membership of a trade union and also includes membership of a group of persons whose defining characteristic is their belonging to the female or the male sex or having a particular sexual orientation".

This Act determines how we grant or refuse refugee status to an asylum-seeker.

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Immigration Act (1999)

The courts found that the section of the Aliens Act (1935) under which Ireland could deport aliens was technically in breach of the Constitution. Therefore, so that we could have the right to deport, as all states do, the Immigration Act was introduced.

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Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Bill (1999)

This Bill was published in the summer of 1999. It is intended to deal with the growing problem of trafficking in illegal immigrants

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