UN agency hails draft law in Ireland that would speed asylum for

31 January 2008The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed a draft law in Ireland that would speed up the asylum process for people seeking protection in the country. The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed a draft law in Ireland that would speed up the asylum process for people seeking protection in the country.The new Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill offered “a unique opportunity to strengthen Ireland’s existing asylum system by introducing a single asylum procedure,” said Manuel Jordão, Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ireland.The draft legislation, which must be tabled in parliament, would bring Irish law in line with the European Union’s asylum directives while simplifying the asylum process. The current multi-stage system, criticized by Ireland’s Department of Justice as far too lengthy, would enable decision-makers to examine grounds for protection with wider scope to make a ruling at the initial and appeals stages of the asylum process.Mr. Jordão said the bill would enhance the quality of asylum decisions, greatly reduce the risk of gaps occurring in the assessment of asylum claims, speed up decision-making and reduce the time asylum seekers live in accommodation centres.

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