Tuesday, 14 October 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
472. Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason the Refugee Application Commissioner has postponed interviews with all the approximately 70 Kurds and Iraqi citizens who have applications before the commissioner. [23229/03]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): The Refugee Applications Commissioner made a decision earlier this year to suspend processing of applications for asylum from Iraqi nationals as the rapidly evolving situation in that country had made meaningful analysis of applications unfeasible. This decision was in line with UNHCR advice to all states hosting Iraqi asylum seekers that processing of new and pending applications from such applicants should be suspended. In the region of 170 Iraqi applications are currently on hands, the majority of which were made in 2003.
The commissioner has kept this policy under careful review, having particular regard to the UNHCR advice, which has since been reiterated. Any change in the UNHCR position will be taken into account by the commissioner in determining when to recommence processing of Iraqi applications.
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