From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Irish Authorities Deporting Albanians Without Allowing them to Apply for Asylum

Irish authorities are illegally deporting Albanian citizens, before giving them an opportunity to request asylum, according to a report by the Irish Times.

The Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has acknowledged the existence of the measures, confirming that immigration checks have been moved to the steps of the aircraft instead of passport control. This means that Albanians who disembark the aircraft with fake travel documents are being sent back immediately on return flights.

The Irish Times reports that this is done to stop them from destroying their passports prior to presenting at immigration and seeking asylum.

Albania is considered a safe country of origin, yet it remains as the European country with the highest rate of asylum seekers in EU Member states and Schengen countries.

By preventing people from disembarking it means that they are unable to apply for asylum. Since the introduction of new measures at Dublin airport, applications from Albanian asylum seekers has significantly decreased.

The Irish authorities have admitted that the policy exists, despite it being a violation of international refugee law, European Human Rights law and EU law, all of which Ireland is bound to.

The principle of non-refoulment which presents in both refugee law and human rights law means that an individual has the right not to be sent back to a country where they are at risk of irreparable harm. The European Court of Human Rights states that this requires “rigorous risk assessment”. 

Human rights law also states that the collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited. This means that each individual entering the country must be assessed on the legality of their presence, even those that have been denied entrance to the state. The Irish Times reports that these rights are afforded under Section 15 of the International Protection Act 2015 under national law and apply even if the individual is coming from a “safe country of origin” such as Albania.

The law also recognises that those seeking safety may be forced to travel on false documents.

It is worth noting that coming from a safe country of origin does not preclude an individual from claiming asylum and requires that the relevant state carries out an individual examination of the application to ensure that the country is safe for that person. This is not the case with this policy in Ireland.

In a report published today, the European Commission praised Albania’s progress in curtailing asylum applications in EU countries as well as returning almost 7000 citizens to the country. It is not known how many were returned from Ireland due to this potentially illegal policy.