Soulless Asylum



Moria detention centre on Lesbos island this morning

You may recall yesterday’s deportation of 202 migrants from Lesbos and Chios islands in Greece to Turkey, with the assistance of 180 Frontex officers.

The deportations are a part of the €3billion EU/Turkey deal, of which Ireland is contributing €22million.

Last week the Department of Justice announced it will send three case workers from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), and two members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to the Greek islands.

The department said it is also considering a request from Frontex for border guards to assist them with the deportations – even though Ireland is not a member of Frontex.

Last night on RTÉ One’s Drivetime, Lesbos-based journalist Andrew Connolly spoke with Mary Wilson.

Mr Connolly said:

“I’ve just been at the Moria detention centre talking to Pakistanis… based on my conversations with some of them, it’s very, I find it difficult to believe that some of the deportees this morning might have even understood the concept of asylum.

Again it’s being claimed by the Greek authorities and the European Asylum Office and also the UNHCR they seem to be satisfied that everyone was told their rights but they didn’t claim asylum in Greece.”

Further to this, Patrick Kingsley, in The Guardian reports this afternoon that the UN has told how 13 of the 202 deported yesterday may not have been given the opportunity to seek asylum before they were deported – as police officers “forgot”.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek asylum. Mr Kingsley reports:

Some of the first people to be deported from Greece under the terms of the EU-Turkey migration deal may not have been given the chance to claim for asylum, the UN refugee agency has said.

Police “forgot” to process the asylum claims of 13 of the 202 asylum seekers sent back to Turkey on Monday, the first day the deal was put into practice, according to Vincent Cochetel, director of UNHCR’s Europe bureau.

… Cochetel said on Tuesday that 13 Afghans and Congolese asylum seekers – who reached the Greek island of Chios after 20 March, and who were deported back to Turkey on Monday – were not allowed to formally register their asylum claims, due to administrative chaos on the island.

… Cochetel told the Guardian: “For four days after the 20th, the Greek police did not register any intention to seek asylum as they were no prepared [or] equipped for this, so we started providing forms to people who had declared their intention to seek asylum.”

“The police received most of the people with these forms and … forgot some apparently. It is more a mistake than anything else, we hope.”

…On Monday, more asylum seekers landed in Greece from Turkey (228) than were deported in the opposite direction (202).



Listen back to Drivetime interview in full here

Greece may have deported asylum seekers by mistake, says UN (Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian)

Pic: Andrew Connolly

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19 thoughts on “Soulless Asylum

  1. ollie

    “Police “forgot” to process the asylum claims of 13 of the 202 ”
    Not a bad result for a police force totally overwhelmed with applications.

      1. ollie

        “I find it difficult to believe that some of the deportees this morning might have even understood the concept of asylum.”
        So you are saying that none of the 202 people deported understood the concept of asylum?
        I don’t find this difficult. Journalism suffers badly from this malaise of making stuff up to suit the article being written. It’s unhelpful, to put it mildly.

      2. ollie

        read the article again. The author is quick to claim that the police “forgot” in the opening paragraphs (twice).
        Then later on he gives the reasons:
        ” due to administrative chaos”
        “Greek police ….were not prepared [or] equipped for this”

        It’s pathetic “journalism” by a “journalist” who’s “probably” more interested in “selling” stories than in “reporting” the plight of these people.

    1. Twunt


      Wait, no, actually these bleeding heart fools won’t be happy until Europe is bled dry. Send the lot of them to Pakistan

      1. B Hewson

        Later, Greek police also admit they “forgot” to uphold their countries borders for the previous 24 months, letting through hundreds of thousands of undocumented people, 80% of whom are single men now roaming the EU making various demands

  2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    Abortion AND refugees in one afternoon?! What a time to be alive!!!

  3. Junkface

    Can you imagine Ireland was in Greece’s position? It would be a total disaster! Its a really testing time for South Eastern Europe. The world is a mess. Why is there so many Pakistani immigrants now? They are not at war like Syria, I think Syrians should be given preference as their country is destroyed.

    1. 15 cents

      lots of pakistan has been experiencing extreme drought. ya wont hear about it much because its a result of global warming.

      1. J

        Christians are being persecuted in Pakistan.Easter Sunday suicide bomb killed 70. ( Mercille to consider the relation between terrorism and restrictions on religious freedom in his next column)

  4. Rob_G

    “I’ve just been at the Moria detention centre talking to Pakistanis”…

    – I’m sure that not everything is sweetness and light in Pakistan, but are Pakistani nationals eligible for asylum in Europe? I agree that Europe needs to do more to help refugees from Syria, but this article is kind of reinforcing the idea that people in poorer countries are using the refugee crisis as a handy way to move to Europe, bypassing the normal immigration controls.

    This strengthens the case for processing all refugees in Turkey; economic migrants will be less likely to come if they think that they will be stuck in Turkey for months at a time. Which is pretty sh1tty on the genuine refugees, but something needed to be done to reduce the ‘pull’ factor a little to put off some of the more dubious applicants for asylum.

    1. ahjayzis

      “are Pakistani nationals eligible for asylum in Europe”

      Not how it works, everyone has a human right to apply for asylum and have the case heard on their individual circumstances. Your nationality or the status of the country doesn’t come into it. For all we know they could be some persecuted minority / victim of state oppression, Pakistan may look like sweetness and light compared to the Syrian quagmire but it’s not hard to imagine people needing to flee, it’s a bit of a craphole.

      1. Rob_G

        Everyone does, but your nationality does play a role in it being granted. If I were to land in America and apply for asylum, I would probably be turned down.

        “Pakistan may look like sweetness and light compared to the Syrian quagmire but it’s not hard to imagine people needing to flee, it’s a bit of a craphole.”

        – if we allow everybody leave to come to Europe on the basis that their country is ‘a bit of a craphole’ by European standards, it would lead to millions upon millions of people from sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia landing on Europe’s doorstep.

        Granting asylum is a very important function for a western democracy, but I think you are being a bit laissez-faire as to how big a problem society would face if we just opened up the borders to all-comers.

      2. Twunt

        They are here because Merkel invited them. A summer of discontent lies ahead. The more the better as it may discourage more chancers from showing up.

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