Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

GGR questions Govt on Refugees

Equality Rights Group GGR has written to the Chief Minister asking for clarification on provisions with regard to refugees and asylum seekers.

“There are clear national and international provisions that persons with refugee or asylum-seeker status should be given the opportunity for employment, housing and possible social security support. These are sensible and practical requirements in law to ensure that persons who are persecuted or otherwise find themselves in a State-less situation are able to find refuge. Failure to provide for these persons adequately is not only a negative element for the individual themselves, but could pose the danger of undesirable conduct on the individual’s part in an effort to provide for themselves where no or inadequate provision is made by the host country.”

“Gibraltar has clear legislation covering this situation both in the Immigration Control Ordinance 1962 and under the Temporary Protection Ordinance 2005. Our letter to the Chief Minister seeks clarification as to the total number of persons in this category, their nationalities, whether they are employed or not, and whether they receive social security support as well as housing or assistance towards it.”

“GGR is not only interested in ensuring that the Government of Gibraltar complies with its international obligations under the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, but also with our own legislation designed to provide for these persons. Most importantly, it is ultimately a matter of much interest to Gibraltar as a community to ensure these provisions are made practical realities and that we are not failing in compliance since, in the alternative, destitute or unprovided for individuals in this situation may seek modes of survival which could lead to unacceptable behaviour. Employment and housing, therefore, are of core importance to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are able to live amongst us with a measure of safety and dignity. We trust Government will clarify these matters if not to ourselves directly, then at least to the public at large. Since, from past experience, unfortunately, GGR cannot confide in a response being received from Government, we have forwarded a copy of our letter to Amnesty International for their information.”