Tag Archives: Asylum Procedures Directive

Commission Report on Asylum Procedures Directive

The European Commission issued on 8 September 2010 a periodic Report on the Asylum Procedures Directive (Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005, on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status).  The Report identified numerous “shortcomings in existing common standards” according to the Commission Press Release which accompanied the Report.

One purpose of the report is to “give[] an overview of the transposition and implementation of the Directive in Member States, including possible problematic issues.”  While the report includes a short section (Sect. 5.2.7.) discussing application procedures at Member State borders, it does not address application procedures beyond borders, e.g. in international waters.

The report concludes as follows:  “This evaluation confirms that some of the Directive’s optional provisions and derogation clauses have contributed to the proliferation of divergent arrangements across the EU, and that procedural guarantees vary considerably between Member States. This is notably the case with respect to the provisions on accelerated procedures, ‘safe country of origin’, ‘safe third country’, personal interviews, legal assistance, and access to an effective remedy. Thus, important disparities subsist. A number of cases of incomplete and/or incorrect transposition and flaws in the implementation of the Directive have also been identified. The cumulative effect of these deficiencies may make procedures susceptible to administrative error. It is noteworthy, in this regard, that a significant share of first instance decisions is overturned on appeal.

“The present report shows that the objective of creating a level playing field with respect to fair and efficient asylum procedures has not been fully achieved. The Commission will continue to examine and pursue all cases where problems of transposition and/or implementation have been identified, so as to facilitate the correct and consistent application of the Directive, and to ensure full respect for the principle of non-refoulement and other rights enshrined in the EU Charter. Procedural divergences caused by the often vague and ambiguous standards could only be addressed by legislative amendment. Accordingly, and on the basis of a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the Directive, the Commission adopted on 21 October 2009 a proposal to recast the Directive in order to remedy the deficiencies identified.”

Click here for the Report.

Click here for the Commission Press Release.

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UNHCR Report on EU Member State Implementation of the Asylum Procedures Directive

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 or here for the Report.

Click here for UNHCR press release.

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