|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.16, 19.4.01, p6|
THE UK's House of Lords has criticised António Vitorino's plans for harmonising the way asylum claims are dealt with, saying they do not properly safeguard the rights of refugees.
The Lords select committee on the European Union says justice Commissioner Vitorino's proposed directive on minimum standards in asylum procedures uses phrases which have "dubious legitimacy" in international law, leaving them open to abuse by immigrant-phobic member states.
In a 140-page report on the proposals, the House of Lords praises them as a "significant first step" towards creating a common European asylum policy.
But says the paper: "There remains, nonetheless, substantial concern as to whether the directive goes far enough in safeguarding, consistently with international law, the rights of the asylum seeker." The cross-party group examining the asylum plans, headed by Lord Hope of Craighead, say concepts used in the proposed rules like "manifestly unfounded claims", "safe country of origin" and "safe third country" need to be examined critically and at present leave too much open to the interpretation of member states.
For example, under Vitorino's rules EU governments would be allowed to throw out certain asylum claims if they were "manifestly unfounded".
They say because such a term has no firm meaning in international law, member states could stretch its use to unfairly reject legitimate applications.
The proposals for minimum standards in asylum procedures are currently being scrutinised by diplomats from all member states before being presented to justice ministers for approval.
The UK's House of Lords has criticised António Vitorino's plans for harmonising the way asylum claims are dealt with, saying they do not properly safeguard the rights of refugees.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs|