Brussels, 10 June 2013 - Caritas Europa is among eleven organisations expressing concerns over the adoption of the so-called “asylum package”. In a joint statement, “Establishing a Common European Asylum System: still a long way to go” the organisations highlight key areas in which the legislation still falls short of internationally accepted standards.
“The legislation provides a still imperfect legal framework for a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that today only exists on paper,” the group says in the statement and points out that although serious efforts have been made to ensure the alignment of the European Union legislation with human rights law, serious concerns remain.
Some legislative provisions lack legal clarity and are ambiguous, whilst others give too much discretion to member states, which may have the further effect of undermining the overall aim of achieving harmonised and high standards of protection across Europe.
For example, the organisations believe that the grounds for detention defined in the recast Reception Conditions Directive “risk leading to an excessively broad interpretation by member states, thereby encouraging a more systematic use of detention of asylum seekers as opposed to making the practice truly exceptional.”
In addition, the EU standards fall short of international refugee and human rights law which presupposes that, as a general rule, asylum seekers should not be detained and that detention should only occur in truly exceptional cases, and then only with full procedural safeguards in place.
"During this next phase of transposition and implementation, Member States and the EU institutions are called upon to engage in open, transparent and regular dialogue with UNHCR and civil society organisations in creating a Europe of protection and integration of all persons seeking international protection on our shores," the satement concludes.
Caritas Europa's Migration officer, Daphné Bouteillet-Paquet has contributed largely to the joint statement. "While the asylum package is far from perfect, I think that we must welcome the overall objective of a common level of protection," she writes in her latest blog post "Will Austerity Europe kill the common asylum system" .
Read the full statement here.
Update, 13 June 2013
The "asylum package" was adopted in a plenary session in the European Parilament after a critical debate
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