Asylum Seekers

Name of the project: „Improvement of the situation of asylum-seekers in Romania”

Obiectivele specifice ale proiectului sunt:

– imbunatatirea accesului la teritoriu si reducerea riscului de refoulement

– imbunatatirea calitatii si a accesului la determinarea unei forme de protectie

– imbunatatirea conditiilor de receptie

– reducerea riscurilor privid custodia publica si cresterea libertatii de miscare

The specific objectives are:

– Access to the territory improved and risk of refoulement reduced

– Access to and quality of status determination procedures improved

– Reception conditions improved

– Risks related to detention reduced and freedom of movement increased

The target group includes potential asylum-seekers found at the borders, those applying for asylum in the border points or on the territory, further accommodated or not in governmental reception centres, persons of concern for UNHCR detained in public custody centres or pending removal procedure, tolerated finally rejected asylum-seekers as well those in the access to a new asylum procedure, Dublin II returnees etc.

The project is duly considering all the categories of concern for UNHCR, with respect to their age, gender, diversity and special needs, especially for groups with particular protection needs, such as victims of torture, children notably those separated from their family, and the elderly, etc.

Project activities:

The project will cover both individual assistance (legal assistance, counselling and representation for asylum-seekers and other persons of concern), and indirect assistance (monitoring of access to the territory and RSD procedure, reception and detention conditions, as well as trainings and support centre for asylum lawyers).

The project is proposing a bridging activity consisting in a coordinated approach by different stakeholders within the authorities and NGOs to make constructive use of any support and intervention possibilities for all asylum-seekers in Romania in general and in particular for identified cases of interest for UNHCR.

The project shall complement the ERF multiannual projects on social and legal assistance, respectively, for asylum-seekers, as well as for persons of concern taken into public custody (funded under European Return Fund).

Under the project framework, border monitoring will be conducted with the aim of observing the process of receiving asylum applications and of acceptance or denial of entry to the territory and RSD procedure, as well as the protection against forced return (refoulment) from the border. Places to be monitored include international airport(s), harbour(s), transit area centres at the border crossing points etc.

Monitoring of the RSD procedure may allow for supervision of two main components: caseload management, covering the organisation of overall workload/assistance for individual cases and procedural aspects, looking for observance of procedural rights.

Considering the different approaches in decision-making process and on standards applied, the main goal will be to observe, document and report in practices and to try to promote good practices. In this regard, monitoring of interviews, use of interpreters, monitoring of court procedures could be realised, with special focus in Bucharest, as the main location for processing asylum applications.

Assistance provided to the persons of concern includes the following:

– conduct interviews with asylum-seekers or other persons of concern, in order to identify individual cases of persons in need of international protection at the border, inside the territory or in detention facilities with the aim of removal.

– provision of legal assistance to such persons, including legal representation, if necessary;

– follow-up on cases with appointed lawyers.

The assistance shall be provided during the activities carried out by the legal counsellors or based on individual legal support provided by the lawyers at the local levels.

Monitoring includes observance of reception conditions, standards applied with regard to the treatment of asylum-seekers, situation analysis etc and actions taken to address the identified gaps. The information is obtained from various sources and shall be reviewed from AGD perspective to identify protection gaps, in information, in services, in assistance or in advocacy. JRS has developed a monthly up-dated tool – gaps analyses on reception conditions that can be used for assessments of developments in the field. The AGDM exercise underlined this is an area that requires improvement, both in terms of living conditions as well as in relation to assistance provided during the asylum procedure, and in relation with the centre staff.

With the occasion of monitoring visits, training sessions should be organised with the management of each centres, GII staff and, if possible, other relevant stakeholders mainly authorities following a training needs assessment. The events may also provide a platform for discussions and sharing of information in order to better address various situations.

The project includes also participation of JRS staff from different locations to other events on reception conditions. The Working Group on asylum law should provide the platform for identification of gaps existent in both legislation and practice, to study the standards provided in the recast EU Directives, and to promote UNHCR commentaries in a way that improves these standards. The activity requires, apart from the organisation of meetings, studies and research in a basic manner of relevant documents that can be used for formulating better arguments. The Group may include lawyers, judges, legal counsellors and should be coordinated together with UNHCR. The legislative process of adopting one law or changes to it allows for consultations with stakeholders or one meeting, as part of the transparency procedure.

The project is proposing an active role to be played by the civil society in identifying gaps and propose solutions, document relevant cases and look for jurisprudence that can be used as arguments for adoption of better standards.

Specific advocacy issues will be documented and conducted with regard to the application of the new rules on detention, following the expected amendments brought to the Aliens Law, also on the setting up of the NPM.

One training session organised in Otopeni/Arad Centre covering training themes based on needs assessment.

Assistance provided to the persons of concern in removal procedures includes the following:

– conduct interviews with detained aliens, in order to identify individual cases of persons still in need of international protection, following the end of the asylum procedure; special focus on vulnerable cases and to those who were considered as being of concern previously, during the asylum procedure;

– provide assistance to asylum-seekers in detention (exceptional cases of undesirable or those convicted with expulsion), as well as assistance to PoC’s applying for the access to a new asylum procedure if they are POC’s;

– provide complementary information to the aliens regarding their rights and obligations and the applicable procedures, if the case;

– provisions of legal assistance to such persons, including legal representation, if necessary;

– follow-up cases with appointed lawyers.

Under the project framework, the situation of PoCs for UNHCR in the detention centre is relevant with regard to:

– monitoring access to the asylum procedure and application of the legal provisions (release in case of first application, except for national security considerations or conviction with penal sanction of expulsion, as well as access to a new asylum procedure for those who claim a risk in case of return after final rejection in the asylum procedure)

– monitoring of reception conditions (mainly with regard to the issued mentioned in the AGDM exercise or DEVAS report: use of outdoor, recreational activities, information leaflets etc., but also with regard to the implementation of the changes to aliens law);

– procedural aspects, involving asylum and aliens regulations or other special procedure (penal etc.).

Contract no: ref: 0000000042

Period of implementing the project: 01.01.2014 – 31.12.2014

Project budget: 469.800,00 RON

Project is implemented by: Asociation Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Romania

Project Partener: Save the Children Romania

Location : In all 6 Regional Accomodation and Procedures for Asylum Seeker Centers in the country, in the 2 Custody Centers for Foreigners and also the country border.

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