The European Court of Justice today ruled that asylum seekers should not be returned to countries where they may face ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’ under the Dublin regulation – the rule whereby people are returned to the member state in which they first entered the EU. In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We welcome the European Court of Justice’s ruling today, that means asylum seekers must no longer be returned to countries where their rights risk being violated. The Dublin regulation means vulnerable people including children who have already fled horrors in their own countries, are then passed like parcels from one country to another, purely for the administrative convenience of those states. It also means that countries like Greece who are already unable to cope with the large numbers of asylum seekers arriving there, are also forced to take responsibility for those returned through the Dublin regulation.
“The responsibility to receive and determine claims of people seeking safety in Europe should be shared across the continent, particularly in Western European countries who see far fewer asylum seekers annually. The focus for the member states must now be on improving asylum systems across Europe to ensure people are treated humanely while seeking safety in any country.”