8 April 2016

The Asylum Information Database has published a comparative report, Wrong counts and closing doors, which demonstrates that Europe’s ongoing failure to find humane responses to the plight of refugees has led to severe difficulties in ensuring reception places for asylum seekers.

Considering the situation in 20 European countries, the report shows that the inability of reception systems to adapt to higher numbers of asylum seekers is a structural challenge throughout Europe, both in countries receiving the majority of refugees and migrants as well as those facing much smaller increases. A number of transit countries have failed to enhance their reception capacity, even where they have committed to do so, for example at the Western Balkan Leaders’ Meeting of October 2015. The lack of sufficient accommodation places has driven many persons in need of protection into inadequate living conditions and destitution.

The report describes particular challenges faced by Member States to provide appropriate reception to vulnerable persons with special needs, who may be detained due to a lack of available reception spaces, contrary to their international obligations. Similar issues have been raised in ECRE’s recent submission to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on issues likely to be of importance to the supervision of the execution of the M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece ruling.

Furthermore, up to eight of the countries examined have discriminated against asylum seekers based on their nationality when providing accommodation. In some countries, certain asylum seekers have found themselves arbitrarily detained on the basis of their nationality.

ECRE calls on states to adapt to the demand for additional reception places, refrain from the systematic use of emergency facilities, respect the rights of vulnerable persons, avoid using detention for initial accommodation purposes, and to stop discriminating against asylum seekers based on their nationality.

For further information:


This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 8 April 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.