AIDA's report documents the situation in 20 European countries and highlights that Europe’s ongoing failure to find humane responses to the plight of refugees has led to severe difficulties in ensuring reception for those seeking asylum.
A central challenge to the operation of reception systems has been the obligation of states to identify vulnerabilities and provide appropriate reception to persons with special needs. Vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied children and those affected by FGM have been unduly subjected to detention due to the unavailability of appropriate reception places, not least in countries of first arrival. The implementation of the “hotspot” approach in Italy and Greece has reinforced the risk of detention of asylum seekers and migrants, contrary to states’ obligations.
AIDA has called on states to:
- Adapt to higher reception demand and prevent substandard living conditions and destitution from becoming an integral part of seeking asylum in Europe;
- Refrain from the systematic use of emergency facilities as accommodation sites for people undergoing an asylum procedure, as conditions do not allow asylum seekers to have a dignified standard of living in line with their fundamental rights;
- Respect the rights of vulnerable persons throughout the asylum procedure. Identification of vulnerability must be conducted at an early stage, while special reception needs for vulnerable persons as well as the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration for European countries. States need to provide tailored facilities, material resources and necessary treatment and care for both physical and mental illnesses;
- Avoid resort to detention as a strategy of initial accommodation of refugees and migrants.As explained in the report, detention is embedded in several countries’ reception systems;
- Refrain from discriminating against asylum seekers on nationality grounds. States need to accommodate all entrants and not summarily deny or delay entry to those not deemed manifestly in need of international protection. States cannot automatically resort to detention of specific nationalities on similar grounds.
Read the ECRE press release here.