DDVG shares contacts for people being removed from the UK to a European country under Dublin II
VICTOR FIORINI, DETENTION SUPPORT MANAGER AT DDVG.
It is common for NGOs to think that once those we are helping leave the area, there is little else we can do. Sometimes the detainees we visit might be of the same opinion, especially if they are being forcibly removed from the UK.
But there is always something more that we can do. Admittedly when someone is removed from the UK it is difficult to keep in touch and advise on how to solve issues in a different country.
Some of our clients are detainees who have crossed a number of European borders before they reach the UK. Many of them will have had their fingerprints recorded in one of those countries, usually in Southern Europe. We hear a number of horror stories about how asylum seekers and migrants are treated in some of these EU member states.
In some cases, the situation is so bad that even the UK Home Office acknowledges that the person’s safety will be at risk if removed to that country – Greece is a case in point. There are other countries such as Italy and Cyprus that are currently under scrutiny as to whether or not they are safe places to return asylum seekers to.
But unfortunately the Dublin II convention is what it is. Despite being criticised by the UNHCR and other expert NGOs, the agreement (signed by all EU members states plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) to return asylum seekers to their first port of call seems to be an argument that is difficult to contest in most cases.
At the moment there are no returns to Greece and pending other court cases, challenges to stop removal directions to Cyprus and Italy might also be successful.
For those detainees who will not be able to successfully contest their removal directions to one of the other Dublin II signatories, the least we can do is inform them about various organisations in those countries that they can turn to when they get there. DDVG, with the research and writing of our intern Frances Radiguet, has collated this booklet with information on help organisations in Dublin II countries other than the UK.
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