Statewatch News Online: Spain: CEAR expresses concern over asylum law reform

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CEAR expresses concern over asylum law reform

The Comision Espanola de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR, Spanish Commission for Assistance to Refugees) has produced a manifesto "in defence of the right to asylum" in response to the draft law approved by the Council of Ministers on 5 December. Noting that the tightening of European border controls and the recent European Pact on Immigration and Asylum will place further "obstacles" in the way of refugees seeking protection, the draft new asylum law is deemed a "step backward", particularly due to the use of "safe country" lists, diminishing the role of UNHCR and ruling out the submission of applications for refugee status in diplomatic delegations abroad.

The document acknowledges some improvements, such as Spain's participation in UNHCR refugee settlement programmes, but notes that the draft law represents an overall backwards shift, that refugee law should only be changed to improve or widen the safeguards it provides, and calls on the government and political parties to consider the plight of hundreds of thousands of Spanish people who were forced into exile "over the course of our history" and were received in a supportive manner elsewhere.

A document expressing CEAR's position towards the draft law also argues that the concept of "safe third countries" will make it possible to overlook an applicant's personal circumstances and allow a "generalised rejection" of specific kinds of applications; that the current system that excludes the examination of the facts in cases not admitted to proceedings is maintained, while a new fast-track procedure is envisaged that will expand the amount of cases in which this happens; and that the right to appeal a negative decision does not envisage a suspension of expulsion or the obligation to leave. Support for the manifesto can be sent to:

CEAR. Public manifesto, "In defence of the Right to Asylum" (pdf)

Manifiesto publico, "En defensa del derecho de asilo" (in Spanish, original),

"CEAR ante el borrador de anteproyecto de la ley reguladora del derecho de asilo y de la protección subsidiaria"

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