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Asylum Information Database report examines concept of vulnerability in EU law and practice

Date of Publication: 
13 September 2017
Summary: 

New report by AIDA project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles finds important protection gaps

Asylum Information Database report examines concept of vulnerability in EU law and practice

13 September 2017
EIN

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), last week released a useful report examining the concept of vulnerability in asylum procedures across Europe, including the UK.

The 58-page report can be read here.

The report is divided into three chapters, with the first chapter discussing vulnerability as a legal concept and its implications on the categorisation of asylum seekers, as well as the definitions of "vulnerable" applicant, "applicant with special reception needs" and "applicant in need of special procedural guarantees" set out by EU law and diversely codified in national legislation.

Chapter 2 provides an overview of national practice concerning mechanisms for identification of vulnerable asylum seekers, institutional and training arrangements in asylum administrations to ensure that the needs of such applicants are met, and the role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in vulnerability assessments. The chapter includes a focus on age assessment of unaccompanied children as a specific form of identification.

The third chapter examines the procedural effects of vulnerability identification in the law and practice of European countries, particularly as regards the prioritisation of asylum claims by vulnerable persons, their exemption from accelerated and border procedures, as well as the adaptation of the Dublin procedure to their specific situation and needs.

Overall, AIDA finds in the report that EU asylum law presents a fragmented framework for identifying vulnerable categories of asylum seekers, leaving important protection gaps.

In addition, AIDA finds that approaches to vulnerability are incoherent across national asylum processes in the EU.

The final part of the report makes a number of recommendations for improving both EU law and national asylum practices.