Provide asylum seekers with clear access to justice, UNHCR recommends

Migrants and refugees who have reached countries of destination including through resettlement should be provided with clear, voluntary, and confidential opportunities for access to justice, the UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council through its Mixed Migration Centre have recommended to country of destination.

A recently joint report titled: ‘On this journey, no one care if you live or die’ – Abuse, protection and justice along routes between East and West Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean coast, has put forward a number of recommendations for countries along the Central Mediterranean route and donors, countries of destination, humanitarian agencies and the international community.

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Among the recommendations put forward for the destination countries, the joint report recommends providing access to justice. Such access could include providing trusted and accessible channels for those wishing to provide information on abuses experienced along the route, counselling them on the implications of their possible participation in criminal proceedings, providing access to a status commensurate with their international protection needs where applicable. In cases where international protection is not required, the report recommends providing legal stay for the duration of criminal proceedings, and providing support with access to legal aid.

The report also recommends enhancing opportunities for safe and legal travel, suggesting rthe removal of obstacles to family reunification, increasing resettlement commitments, and introducing programmes such as temporary labour schemes and education visas.

Recommendations to strengthen information sharing efforts by law enforcement actors on perpetrators of abuses is also encouraged. However all cooperation must be consistent with international human rights and refugee law.

The report also recommends the strengthening of measures used to identify victims of trafficking and other abuses. This can be done through the capacity building of immigration/asylum officials, law enforcement officials, and through establishing or strengthening coordination between those actors, NGOs, and other key stakeholders.

Victims should be provided with a safe shelter when needed and with all the information and assistance they may require. An emphasis is made on sexual and gender based violence survivors and the need to support their full recovery.

About the report

The joint report was prepared by the Danish Refugee Council through its Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) and UNHCR. The MMC through its collection programme 4Mi collected global data and interviewed more than 10,000 refugees and migrants every year on mixed migration routes across the world.

The report is based on 4Mi data collected by the MCC along the routes from sub-Sahara Africa to and through North Africa in 2018 and 2019.