Government’s response to rape of asylum seeker in direct provision ‘inadequate and inappropriate’

A photo of a direct provision centre.

A support organisation for migrants and refugees has said it is concerned about a reported rape of an asylum seeker in a direct provision centre. Doras has argued that the government’s response to the incident has been “inadequate and inappropriate”. 

And it called on the government to guarantee “the safety of international protection applicants”.

Abandoned

The assault was revealed by Sorcha Pollak in the Irish Times on 10 July. According to the report, a woman was raped by a fellow resident of a direct provision centre on 1 March. After the attack the woman spent some time in a women’s refuge to recover. 

But she was placed into an emergency accommodation centre a month later. And since then she has been sharing a room with another woman.

Speaking to the paper the woman said she feels abandoned by the state, believing that “There is not much support here”. And, what’s more, she has had no contact from the Department of Justice since she was moved out of the women’s refuge.

Detectives are currently investigating the allegations. 

Concerns

Doras, which works with migrants and refugees, said it is concerned about the security of residents in direct provision centres following the report in the Irish Times. The CEO of Doras, John Lannon, observed that “People fleeing harm should not be exposed to further harm when they arrive here in Ireland”. 

Pointing to the lack of privacy and security in direct provision he argued:

The lack of own-door accommodation in congregated Direct Provision centres creates conditions for perpetrators of sexual assault or of human trafficking – acts of sexual violence – to operate.

With this in mind, he insisted that rehousing the victim in “another shared accommodation centre is not an adequate response”. 

And although the new government has committed to ending direct provision, the safety of asylum seekers “needs to be prioritised now”. 

Last year a UN committee called on the government to abolish direct provision and in the meantime ensure “clear standards” for the centres are upheld.

Featured image via Twitter – MASI


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