Stop using trafficking victims as ‘human shields’, Mullen tells Government
17th September, 2014
Senator Rónán Mullen today challenged the Government to reform its handling of asylum applications to make the system ‘fit for human dignity.’
Speaking in the Seanad during his private members motion on the Direct Provision system, seconded by Senator Paul Bradford, Senator Mullen said it was wrong that hundreds of applicants for asylum were forced to spend years in the Direct Provision system awaiting the processing of their applications.
“If the State is letting people languish in the system, so as to deter other possible arrivals to the country, that is immoral and unacceptable,” Senator Mullen. “It effectively treats people as ‘human shields’ against a feared influx of immigrants – a perverse thing to do when you consider the warzones some of these applicants come from.”
The system’s treatment of children was particularly abhorrent, Senator Mullen said. “None of the children in the system are responsible for their situation. They are forced to grow up in conditions of extreme abnormality. They don’t know what it is to have a working parent or a family pet. No civilised country should stand over this.”
Senator Mullen’s motion called on the Government to establish female-only and family-only reception centres, grant the right to seek employment and give leave to people in the system for four years already to remain in the State. Lithuania was the only country apart from Ireland that didn’t grant asylum seekers the right to work at some stage of the asylum process, he noted.
The motion also called on the Government to ensure the security, safety and comfort of each resident in the centres and to introduce guidelines to ensure appropriate treatment for survivors of torture.
“Managing an asylum policy is never easy for any country, but in Ireland some people have been in a Living Limbo for years on end,” Senator Mullen said.