The UNHCR has released a comprehensive report entitled “Improving Asylum Procedures: Comparative Analysis and Recommendations for Law and Practice: A UNHCR research project on the application of key provisions of the Asylum Procedures Directive in selected Member States.”
From the Report’s introduction:
“In the exercise of its supervisory role under Article 35 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees … UNHCR has undertaken a wide-ranging comparative analysis of the transposition of key provisions of the [2005 Asylum Procedures Directive] into national law by selected EU Member States, and the practical application of those provisions….
The research and recommendations also aim to inform negotiations in the Council and the European Parliament on possible amendments to the APD, as put forward by the Commission in October 2009. They also seek to provide constructive input to preparations for the work of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). The EASO has a mandate to facilitate practical cooperation on asylum among Member States, and Member States have underlined their interest in prioritizing the promotion of quality asylum decision-making among its tasks. In that context, this report will provide helpful material.
The research addressed 18 articles of the APD, as they are transposed in law and implemented in practice in the twelve participating states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. As such, the research and recommendations do not address all provisions in the APD, nor the law and practice in every Member State bound by the Directive. This project does not seek to focus scrutiny on any particular Member State. Where gaps or problematic practices have been observed, UNHCR hopes that this research provides an opportunity to discuss and address them, and to draw on the numerous good practices which have also been observed.”
The UNHCR press release states that the “study found not only that member states are applying the Asylum Procedures Directive in diverging ways, but, in some cases, in ways that may breach international refugee law. Researchers reported that applicants were not always afforded personal interviews, or were not given enough time to prepare for interviews or to explain their claims. Interpreters were not always available or qualified…. These and other practices, the study concludes, create the risk that protection needs are not properly identified and people may be sent back to countries where they face persecution or grave personal harm. At the same time, the research identified many good practices, including the provision of clear information on how to appeal negative decisions, codes of conduct for interviewers and interpreters, careful recording of interviews and of decisions, and good cross-cultural communication skills on the part of interviewers.”
Click here for UNHCR press release.