Book Launch: A/V Room, Leinster House, Dublin 2, 6.30pm Tues 8th March.
The launch will be live streamed from MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland Facebook page.
Senator Lynn Ruane will introduce – with Bulelani Mfaco, Lucky Khambule, Wasekera-Sekerani Chiphazi, Sikhulekile Ruth Ndlovu and Sian Cowman –a new book published by Afri: End Direct Provision AND Tackle the International Protection System.
This new book details the punishment people have endured and continue to endure in the Direct Provision (DP) system of accommodation for asylum seekers, and the ill treatment they have suffered more broadly at the hands of International Protection Office (IPO) procedures. It comes at a time of widespread concern about what will replace Direct Provision on foot of the Government commitment of March 2021 to end the system.
Through the words of those who have lived within the current system, the book documents “material deprivation and isolation” and a host of other abuses and humiliations inflicted by the authorities and the private contractors they have paid to implement their policies. Accommodation contractors have, the book notes, “earned more than €1.6 billion in 20 years of DP”.
The book emphasises that “the entire international protection system urgently needs deep and radical changes, far beyond the abolition of Direct Provision itself”. In particular, Afri’s aim with this book is to ensure that “the system is not maintained under another name”.
The book locates these issues within the wider context of “EU states seeking to prevent asylum seekers from exercising their right to seek asylum, including brutal and violent pushbacks on the borders of Europe and the dire conditions in refugee camps on the edges of Europe”. At the same time, the book stresses how “certain traits of the Irish system are particularly shameful”.
The book delivers testimonies from ten people – seven women, one teenage girl and two men – of their experiences in the international protection system. The testimonies are grouped under four headings: The International Protection System; Accommodation; Needs Assessment/Provision; and Education.
- On the International Protection System, the book takes up issues such as the need for limits on the time an application for international protection takes and on the duration of IPO interviews, as well as the need for trauma training for IPO personnel and for accessible and accountable legal aid to be available to every applicant.
- On Accommodation, the testimonies emphasise the need for applicants to have own-door accommodation with full cooking facilities and to enjoy the same social protection entitlements as Irish people have.
- On Needs Assessment/Provision, the issues highlighted include the urgency of radical reform of the duty of care towards those with disabilities, and the need for training of IPO and other personnel in LGBTQ+ sensibilities.
- On Education, demands include the provision of anti-racism programmes in second-level schools, and access to SUSI (third level) grants for international protection applicants.
In launching this book, Afri recognises the leading role played by MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland) and warmly welcomes their involvement in compiling it. With thanks also to St. Stephen’s Green Trust for funding.
The report can be viewed here