Title The Way Forward: Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System. The Return of Asylum Seekers Whose Applications Have Been Rejected in Europe
Publisher European Council on Refugees and Exiles
Publication Date 1 June 2005
Topics International protection | Rejected asylum-seekers
Cite as European Council on Refugees and Exiles, The Way Forward: Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System. The Return of Asylum Seekers Whose Applications Have Been Rejected in Europe, 1 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42ca7e044.html [accessed 22 July 2014]
Comments This new paper on the subject of return, which builds on our 2003 position on return, has benefited from extensive input from our member agencies. Its aim is to make a positive contribution to the return debate and to present some of the issues from the perspective of those fearing the prospect of return. By highlighting the rights and the vulnerabilities of certain groups of people within the broader category of asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been rejected, ECRE seeks to increase understanding of the problems they face and emphasise the potentially devastating consequences on the lives of individuals of return policies and practice which do not properly consider the facts of each case. The aim is also to make suggestions to national governments and the European Union on the development of return policies that recognise and respond to the complexities of the issue, include all the necessary human rights safeguards and promote sustainable returns. The paper contains the following key recommendations: Fair and efficient asylum systems are a prerequisite to return. States must not enforce returns prematurely. International cooperation with countries of origin in a spirit of solidarity at all stages of the return process is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable return. European states should not enforce removals and should grant a legal status to certain categories of persons, especially those who cannot be returned for reasons beyond their control. In undertaking returns European states must ensure their actions do not breach any of their human rights obligations under international and European law. In developing European legal frameworks on return procedures the European Union should help ensure the implementation of such human rights standards within its Member States. Detention should only be used as a last resort, and should be in full compliance with international human rights law. The denial of human rights and the withdrawal of support as a means of forcing asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected to cooperate with return procedures or compel them to leave is unacceptable. Instead asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected should be adequately supported by the government of the host country through the provision of basic socioeconomic benefits until it is really possible for them to leave that country. The extension of positive incentives such as financial assistance is to be welcomed and should be developed across all European countries. ECRE strongly opposes in principle transfers to third countries of persons whose asylum applications have been rejected as a measure to enforce return. Sending states should set procedures in place to check that returnees have reached their destination safely. There should be followup and monitoring of returns to identify whether return policies are safe, effective and sustainable. ECRE's policy on the return of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected in Europe is part of the organisation's development of a series of proposals entitled "The Way Forward Europe's Role in the Global Refugee Protection System", designed to provide constructive recommendations on a number of topical refugee policy issues, contribute to and positively influence the European debate. Other proposals address the issues of developing European resettlement activities, making refugee protection effective in regions of origin, creating fairer and more efficient asylum systems in Europe and improving solutions for refugees through integration. This body of work will be the central priority for ECRE's advocacy over the next few years, linking in to many of the themes in the EU's Hague Programme of action for the next five years, including the forthcoming proposal for a directive on common standards for return procedures from the European Commission.
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