Sociology of Migration
“Discuss the treatment of asylum seekers living in Direct Provision Centres in Ireland.” Last year in Ireland, 2011, the number of applications for asylum seekers was just a mere 1,250. This has been the lowest number recorded in ten years. Between the years of 1992 and 2007, the total number of applications was an astonishing 76,513. These figures demonstrate the large number of asylum seekers on a quest for refuge in Ireland. This essay will demonstrate and describe the treatment of asylum seeks living in Direct Provision Centres in Ireland. An asylum seeker is a person who has fled their own country of residence and enters another country in the hope of receiving protection as a refugee. As stated by United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee can be defined as a person who has fled their own country and unwilling to return because of owing to a fear of being persecuted because of their religion, nationality, race, political opinion or membership of a particular social group for example. (www.humanrights.gov.au.) War, tribal and religious violence are the primary causes of refugees fleeing their countries of residence. To apply for asylum, the asylum seeker must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their country. In the year 2007, Ireland only received 1% of the total number of asylum applications within the EU. This is in comparison to15% in the United States and 11% in Sweden. (www.unhcr.org/statistics.) The reason for the decline in asylum applications in recent years is presumably and most likely due to Ireland’s economic climate. The UNDP published a report in 2009 which indicated that there were 214 million migrants. This figure represents approximately 3% of the world’s population. This number demonstrates the vast amount of people living away from their country of residence. It is vital that each individual be treated equally. Citizenship is a social status where by a member enjoys a wide range of rights and assumes the duties of membership. Along with citizenship comes belonging and collective identity. (www.plato.stanford.edu.) Asylum seekers do not receive the same rights as a citizen. They live in extremely different and even harsh circumstances. In Ireland, asylum seekers are housed in widespread accommodation entitled Direct Provision Centres. A Direct Provision Centre is a means of accommodation, usually large basic hostels or old hotels, which house asylum seekers around the country. The majority of people living in this form of accommodation have been refused asylum and are awaiting a decision from the Minister for Justice on Leave to remain. (www.coistine.ie.) Since April 2000, all asylum seekers in Ireland have been obliged to live in one of the 52 Direct Provision Centres. The main nationalities of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland are from Nigeria, Romania, Somalia, Moldova and DR Congo. Within the Direct Provision Centres in Ireland, 50% of the population are between the age of 18 to 35 years old while the other 30% was discovered to be children aged 17 years or younger. It is likely that most asylum seekers spend 2 years or more within direct provision centres. The treatment of asylum seekers living in Direct Provision accommodation in Ireland can be described as meagre or underprivileged. This basic type of accommodation has remained the same since first opened in 2000. The basic needs of asylum seekers are provided for directly. Each adult receives a weekly payment of €19.10 for additional costs or expenses while each child receives €9.60. (www.flac.ie).The payment has been the same price since the programme was implemented back in 2000, despite inflation. The standard of living for asylum seekers within direct provision centres is low in comparison to citizens or even EU migrants in Ireland. Asylum seekers are denied access to social welfare payments now including Child Benefit. They are also not permitted to work or vote...
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