Opinion Signals Rights Boost for Asylum-Seekers

     (CN) – Europe may revise its asylum policy after an adviser to the high court said member states should consider alternatives before deporting people to other EU countries where they may have been treated adversely.
     Advocate General Verica Trstenjak told the Luxembourg-based court she thinks six asylum-seekers who filed applications in the United Kingdom should not necessarily be sent back to Greece, where they were originally apprehended for illegal entry.
     EU regulations known as Dublin II, with a stated goal of preventing “asylum shopping,” establish procedures for deciding how to process applications from refugees.
     These measures include a requirement that only one member nation is responsible per applicant, specifying this nation in many cases as the country where the immigrant first entered illegally.
     The six asylum applicants, from Afghanistan, Iran and Algeria, challenged decisions to transfer them back to Greece, a country that has come under fire for poor conditions at migrant detention centers.
     The British courts referred the question to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
     Trstenjak opined that, in such cases, member states should give deference to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The overburdened Greek system could present human rights violations for transferred asylum-seekers, she noted.
     To get around this practice, however, applicants will have to prove a “serious risk” of abuse to the transferring nation, the opinion states.
     The European Court of Human Rights, a court parallel in power to the Court of Justice, ruled this past June that Greece’s detention of migrants for months in short-term criminal holding centers indeed violates human rights.

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