New Partnership Government position on migration: a missed opportunity
The new Partnership Government expressed its position on migration in A Programme for a Partnership Government, section 11.10 ‘Ensuring a Balanced Migration'. Mayo Intercultural Action notes with disappointment that the programme missed the opportunity to offer comprehensive and fair response to immigration.
MIA welcomes the commitment to ensure integration and to offer safe haven for refugees coming to Ireland under UN or EU programmes. It is hoped that Ireland will fulfil its commitment to welcome 4,000 refugees; however, we know that as a society we could do better.
MIA notes the government's acknowledgement of negative impact of Direct Provision on family life of asylum seekers and the reference to making change. But, our position remains that the system of Direct Provision is a legitimised institutionalisation of racism, it is detrimental to child development and should be abolished.
MIA is concerned that in context of global issue of human displacement the new government's standing on migration appears preoccupied by the boarder-protection concerns. The repeated reference to coercive measures, such as ‘tackling illegal migration', ‘get tougher on abuses' of ‘bogus asylum seekers' and facilitating removals does not represent a balanced policy.
Natalya Pestova, MIA coordinator said, ‘It is disappointing for the migrant sector to see that the opportunity to introduce change by new government goes missing. What is fundamentally wrong is that the so-called balanced policy of the partnership government attempts to strike its balance by profiling and dealing with two opposites - good and bad immigrants.
‘This is a precarious policy standing not based on human approach to migration, but rather supporting division in our society and contributing to negative stereotyping. The Programme turns a blind eye on the needs for positive domestic response in engaging new communities, combating racism, affording migrants equal recognition, voice and opportunities.
The programme refers to the international and humanitarian obligations of the Irish state, but the on-going policy and practices show that Ireland notoriously fails to adhere to these very obligations. Recent UN Universal Periodic Review already highlighted the asylum protection and Direct Provision systems among the top problematic human rights issues in Ireland.