“My name is Hadiq. I am from Afghanistan. I have been an asylum seeker here in Ireland for the last two years. I am standing here today because I wish to express my feelings on the hardships and difficulties that we in the asylum system experience every day. I don’t feel that our asylum cases have been dealt with and assessed as fairly and thoroughly as possible. The Department of Justice constantly makes it difficult for us to access the few rights and entitlements that we have as asylum seekers.”
“Firstly, the system of direct provision is simply not suitable for those who want to live the normal life that any human being is entitled to. There are many reasons for this. For example, you have very little freedom and choice to do what you want while living in Direct Provision accommodation. You must eat whatever is served to you and there are strict rules governing almost every aspect of my life. You are not allowed to work or pursue a higher education. I would love the opportunity to continue my education here in Ireland but unfortunately I am unable due to my asylum status. In Direct Provision accommodation, you must share a room with people from various backgrounds, cultures and religious beliefs and there is very little private space. Every week, I am given 19.10 euro to live on. Luxuries like cigarettes or trips to visit friends are not an option. In addition, we are not allowed to bring friends from outside into the accommodation centres, further adding to isolation, loneliness and frustration.”
“Being kept in this kind of environment for several years is similar to being in a prison. We feel trapped and all we want is the freedom and rights to enjoy life like any person. I ask that all the people of Ireland imagine for a moment that they were living in this kind of environment with their family. Do you think you could accept this kind of situation? I kindly ask the Irish Government to consider these facts and to replace the system of Direct Provision in Ireland. All we ask for is the freedom to enjoy our rights as a normal human being, not be treated like prisoners.”
“Thank you for your time and I greatly appreciate this opportunity to speak with you all.”
A guest post from today on the Human Rights in Ireland blog.
HRI was set up in 2009. It’s a group blog run by academics, mostly lawyers, who work in Ireland or abroad. Their focus is human rights issues in Ireland.