The 2003 Dublin II Regulation establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining which EU Member State is responsible for dealing with an asylum application. It has affected asylum procedures and practice in the whole EU, not least in the new Member States and the Central European region. Now, three years later, it is up for review by the European Commission, and Amnesty International Poland in cooperation with the Amnesty International EU Office are convening this conference to contribute to a critical examination of the functioning of the Regulation and its impact.
Upon their accession to the EU, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Poland have accepted its acquis communautaire including the Dublin II Regulation which becomes part of domestic legislation, affecting asylum procedures and practice. Many asylum seekers who enter Austria or Germany from new Member States are turned back. Is the system efficient- Is it burden sharing or does it amount to burden shifting- What is its human impact-
Amnesty International has long been voicing concerns about the Dublin system. Refugee recognition rates in different Member States vary greatly, giving rise to the risk of a protection lottery. The Regulation encourages States to tighten immigration controls to restrict access to territory by asylum seekers, perpetuating the lack of solidarity among European States that has been such a persistent characteristic of European asylum policies. Given the predominant responsibility of countries located at the external borders of the EU, it is likely to create a heavy burden on the new Member States.
Amnesty International seeks to create a platform to exchange information and experience regarding the Dublin II Regulation as well as to facilitate debate about its effects on the asylum policies, good and bad practices in the countries affected and in the region as a whole. This should make it possible to identify main trends, differences and problems in the region.
NGOs and government officials working on Dublin II issues will have an opportunity to discuss problems, exchange experience and opinions. Experts will attend from UNHCR’s Branch Office in Brussels to present their new report on Dublin II practices, and from the Budapest Regional Office to give information on trends, developments and practices from the Central European perspective. ECRE will present its “Summary report on the application of the Dublin II regulation in Europe” of last March. The Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the governmental Office for Repatriation and Aliens will focus on the Polish asylum system and Dublin II functioning in Poland. Finally, a European Commission expert is invited to give an appraisal from the Commission’s perspective in connection with its review of the Regulation.
The Dublin II Conference should offer a unique opportunity to match the findings of the reports presented with practical experience in the key countries on the new external borders of the EU. The resulting debates are expected to produce concrete recommendations for the asylum policy, regulation and practice.
CONFERENCE 10 MAY 2006
Burden Sharing or Burden Shifting-
The impact of the Dublin II Regulation on Refugee Protection
In Central European EU Member States
9.00 – 10.00 REGISTRATION
10.00 – 10.30 OPENING AND INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
1. Amnesty International Poland
2. Daphne Bouteillet-Paquet, Amnesty International EU Office
10.30 – 13.30 FIRST PLENARY SESSION
Chair: Ruben Barbado Sánchez De Molina; Researcher on Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria, Amnesty International (tbc)
Topic: General overview of the impact of the Dublin II regulation with a particular focus on Central European countries.
Good and bad experiences and practice; use of the humanitarian clause and family reunification; negative relations between costs and benefits of application of Dublin II regulation; asylum seekers rights during the procedure; deportation; affect on national legal asylum system; main trends
Presentations: maximum 20 minutes
a) Annick Goeminne, national expert, DG JLS, European Commission (tbc)
b) Chris Nash, legal officer, ECRE
c) Christoph Pinter UNHCR, Brussels
11.40 – 12.00 Coffee break
Discussion: about other experiences, questions, answers.
13.30 – 14.30 LUNCH BREAK
14.30 – 17.00 SECOND PLENARY SESSION
Chair: Daphne Bouteillet-Paquet; Amnesty International EU Office, refugee issue expert
Topic: Mid-term review of the Dublin II regulation from the Central European perspective: how does it work in practice at the new external borders of the EU; matching that experience with assessments already presented; what improvements are needed in Dublin II and the European asylum system as a whole-
Presentation: maximum 20 minutes
a) Emilia Małys, Office for Repatriation and Aliens, Poland
b) Bartłomiej Tokarz, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw, Poland
c) UNHCR Budapest (tbc)
d) Bernward Ostrop, Amnesty International Germany (tbc)
15.30 – 17.00 PUBLIC DEBATE
Discussion: Questions and answers, conclusions and recommendations.