Cultur Migrants would like to Invite you to attend the Anti-Racism Day Event
Please register online by Thursday 18th March using the link below.
Cultur Migrants would like to Invite you to attend the Anti-Racism Day Event
Please register online by Thursday 18th March using the link below.
Cultúr Migrant Centre Navan Welcomes the Government White Paper: Next Task Monitoring the implementation of the Proposals.
Cultúr welcomes the proposals in the government’s White Paper on ending Direct Provision published today. This is a special moment for people who have long campaigned for the end of Direct Provision. Cultúr has called for the end of Direct Provision for over 17 years and has campaigned for a model that treats protection applicants with dignity and provides accommodation that is human rights compliant. We welcome the “multi-strand accommodation approach” that has been proposed which commits to building accommodation and using approved housing bodies, moving away from the for-profit accommodation model.
The plan includes mention of a budget to resource community groups to support the implementation and incorporates an independent oversight that includes participation of people with lived experience of Direct Provision and the experience of people in the protection process. The new social welfare payments proposed will also go a long way to address the poverty experienced by people in the protection process. The multi-agency approach proposed will ensure a coordinated effort to support integration is possible from the time of arrival.
Our concern is that the recommendation from the Catherine Day report to start the transition this year is not in the White Paper rather the work will begin in 2022. It is our opinion that in the interim the government should come up with a mechanism that will work on clearing the backlog and reduce the time in processing applications, the median processing time for international protection applications determined in 2020, by the International Protection Office (IPO)was 17.6 months and 12.7 months for prioritised applications.https://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/news/delays-continue-to-afflict-irish-protection-process. Without changes in processing of applications we foresee challenges in transitioning to the new model.
We welcome the report and look forward to working with the Department to ensure that people coming to seek international protection in Ireland will experience “integration from day one”. This a monumental day for people in the International Protection System, in particular for the people we work with and support in Mosney Direct Provision Centre and emergency accommodation centres in Co. Meath. The job is not over yet and we will continue to work for the full implementation of the White Paper.
Programme Manager Cultúr Migrant Centre Navan
Ph: 086 0111742
Email: [email protected]
Join us on Tuesday the 16th of February to celebrate Chinese New Year. The Year of the Ox. The event will include guest speakers, prizes and information about Chinese culture and food. It will give the Chinese and wider Asian community a chance to celebrate virtually and link in together during the restrictions. You can register on eventbrite here:
Realing your goals and kickstart 2021 with Motivation. Join Cultur Migrants Centre at our free vertical goal setting workshop on Monday 8th Februalry.
Cultúr ran a four week Human Rights Day campaign in advance of our Human Rights Day event on the 10th of the December 2020. We posted every week on our social media channels highlighting a different aspect of human rights. Our theme was “From Crisis to Compassion: Recover Better”. COVID-19 has exposed many structural inequalities and human rights failures. Our campaign focused on four key rights; Children’s Rights, Migrant Rights & Direct Provision, Women’s Rights and Climate Change. We discussed different elements of these rights and how they’re been impacted by COVID-19. Our aim was to shed light on how we can “recover better” from the pandemic and ensure human rights are the focal point of our recovery efforts.
Cultúr Migrant Centre is hoping to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and what supports are needed. There are 38 short questions in relation to COVID-19, employment/ unemployment, education, mental health and housing. Please answer as many questions as possible and select all answers that apply to your situation. The responses to these questions are anonymous. The data obtained will contribute to Cultur’s work and may be used to inform a report on the impact of COVID-19 on Migrants. We would like to thank you for your participation.
Please use the attached link below.
“The current system of DP is not fit for purpose and was not designed for long term living. It is unjust and we will continue to campaign and call for change in how applicants of the international protection process are accommodated. We believe there needs to be a shift of minds and a total transformation to improve the quality of life for those seeking asylum in Ireland and the protection system itself”.
This submission was developed by resident leaders in Mosney and supported by Cultúr Migrants Centre.
Cultur welcomes the Advisory Group’s decision to invite submissions from community groups working with people in the International Protection Process. We view it as an important step and opportunity in the process to allow the voices of Asylum Seekers to be listened to and acted upon. This submission we envisage would be discussed and would inform the deliberations of the Advisory group. As we appreciate and value the inputs of all the members, groups, individuals, we would expect the same from them in respecting and taking cognisance of the issues raised by asylum seekers themselves.
Mosney Accommodation Centre: local context
The Mosney Accommodation Centre in Co. Meath is one of the largest centres in Ireland. It currently accommodates approximately 698 people of whom 51.8% (362) are children under 18 years of age. (November 2019 Mosney figures). The centre is located near a busy main road and is cut off from the local community in an area of East Meath that has experienced a large population growth not matched by the level of services and supports from community, voluntary and statutory agency. Although Mosney is located geographically in Co. Meath, its hinterland is Drogheda Co. Louth and is where most of those living in the centre would gravitate towards for services. Children attend schools in Meath and Louth and very little contact exists between the non-formal education and youth services that exist in local areas and young people in Mosney.
What are the main challenges that you have experienced during your stay in Direct Provision?
Asylum Seekers are a marginalised group they face challenges throughout their stay in direct provision such as;
Poverty: parents in Direct Provision often struggle to buy/rent books and uniforms. Additionally, they do not have the pocket money or extra money for their children to participate in school trips or afterschool activities which often take place within school time. The rate of €38.80 per week and the back to school allowance is not enough. Child benefit should be universal for all children.
Mental health issues and other health issues are prevalent in direct provision as a direct result of institutional living e.g. not being able to work, not knowing your future and feelings of hopelessness and desperation from all the years of being kept in limbo. Dietary issues resulting from unhealthy foods (chips and sausages everyday as an afterschool snack, for example) resulting in childhood obesity or children have suffered from malnourishment resulting in poor health.
Dignity and Privacy of Family Life is denied in direct provision: Overcrowding to the extent that children share rooms with every person in their family, including their parents, is not in the best interest of the developing child, especially those reaching adolescence. Children over 10 years should not be sharing rooms with siblings and parents of same or opposite gender. The tensions and pressures on family and parental relationships have in some cases resulted in family break ups and access to privacy is extremely difficult in close living quarters.
Discrimination and Stigma: Children in DP face the stigma of living in a ‘hostel’ this results in low self-esteem and has led to bullying in school in some cases. Children from Mosney arrive on the bus from Mosney and are clearly identifiable as living in direct provision. They are not treated equally as other children are when they leave 2nd level education and are not facilitated to attend 3rd level, thus not being able to achieve their potential with their peers.
How can living conditions and quality of life in Direct Provision centres be improved?
The current system of DP is not fit for purpose and was not designed for long term living. It is unjust and inhumane we will continue to campaign and call for an end of the system we believe there needs to be a shift of minds and a total transformation to improve the quality of life for those seeking asylum in Ireland and the protection system itself. In the interim however we like to see an immediate change in the following areas:
Child safety and protection: children should have adequate playing and sleeping spaces and the parents should be allowed to parent their children in an uncontrolled environment. Living in an open centre and being able to protect children presents challenges as often you do not know who you are living beside or those who come to work in centres.
The length of time for those coming into direct provision should be time bound limited to 6 months: a 2014 research report on children’s needs in Co. Meath stated that: “Given that 90% of asylum seekers suffer from depression after six months in direct provision, the needs of the children residing in (direct provision) should be considered particularly with regard to recreational and mental health issues.”(An Audit of Services and Needs Analysis of Children’s Services, Meath Children’s Services Committee Report, 2014)
Living arrangements: No more than two adults per room where adults must share, to avoid religious, gender, intercultural and ethnic diversity issues. Management should respond to complaints of this nature swiftly.
Training of staff-All centres should have trained staff who undergo integration and anti- racism training and other relevant people management training.
All centres should meet best quality standards and be independently assessed by the Health Information and Quality Standards Authority like other residential institutions in the state.
Dedicated advocates including community and voluntary organisations to be allowed open access to all centres to ensure that residents have the same level of supports as the wider community and resources should be made available to relevant community and voluntary organisations to provide this support.
Tell us how supports (e.g. financial, educational, health) provided to asylum seekers, both inside and outside the Direct Provision system, could be improved.
1. Short term (up to 1 year)
Access to accredited training services SOLAS (formerly FÁS) and ETB courses for those over 18 who have been in the system for 12 months or more and to end the current restrictions for asylum seekers
Access to the labour market for ALL those who have been in the system over 9 months
Supported self-catering facilities-residents should be able to prepare their own meals. It is happening in some centres but should be extended to all
Direct provision allowance to be increased in line with the rate of inflation.
2. Medium Term (within 18 months)
An information and financial package should be made available to support those who are in transition from direct provision to life in the community. In this case there is an onus on state agencies to engage directly with centres to ensure that all the relevant supports are in place so those leaving direct provision are clear about the supports available to them, are clear about their rights and entitlements and can navigate the relevant services. We are concerned that many people leave direct provision are institutionalised and are unaware of the systems and procedures. In Co. Meath the lack of affordable accommodation has resulted in number residents who received permission to remain returning to Mosney or remaining on for several months due to the lack of affordable accommodation, no deposit and often no references.
How have you experienced the asylum application process? Suggest ways it could be improved.
“For most residents in Mosney who are now at the end of the application process and ours has been a tiresome and painful journey. In a new Asylum and Protection system we would like to see the following in place in the application process:
• Early legal advice based on best practice and human rights principles to ensure those applying for asylum has the best advice and supports in making their application. This would save time in the system and resources of the state.
Conclusion Cultur would like to see all recommendations on DP that have come from previous and this working group implemented swiftly in the short term. In the medium term we would like to see an overhaul of the Asylum and Protection system and real reform of the asylum process in Ireland.
This would require short, medium- and long-term solutions:
1. A reformed reception system for those who arrive to Ireland of no longer than 3-6 months with an independent monitoring by HIQA. Centres should be run on a not for profit basis with models from other countries examined on how best to do this
2. All Asylum seekers given the right to work after a period in the country after 9 months to avoid deskilling and loss of educational attainment
3. The right to early legal advice and supports in making an application for asylum
4. Clearing of the backlog of current applications
5. Community, voluntary and statutory agencies be supported and resourced to work directly with asylum seekers to ensure the realisation of their rights, address the inequalities they experience as a result of the system of DP and support their social inclusion within the local communities in which they live with their families in dignity.
We welcome the invitation to the consultation process by the Advisory Group. Contact person for this submission: Reuben Hambakachere, community worker Cultúr. [email protected] 046 9093120 or 0861994655