Saturday 3 December 2016

Structures dealing with asylum seekers make them victims twice over

Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30

A migrant reacts with relief inside a Spanish seas rescue vessel after being saved off the Strait of Gibraltar, near the coast of Tarifa, southern Spain. Photo credit: AP Photo/Marcos Moreno
A migrant reacts with relief inside a Spanish seas rescue vessel after being saved off the Strait of Gibraltar, near the coast of Tarifa, southern Spain. Photo credit: AP Photo/Marcos Moreno

Are vulnerable people who come to Ireland from other countries being treated like cattle rather than human beings? Herded into state-mandated accommodation, their autonomy limited?

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The truth is, we don't know. Heads are buried in the sand when asylum seekers are mentioned. But two cases in the news raise doubts about whether our refugee systems pass the civilised test.

The suicidal teenager at the centre of the abortion row spotlights a variety of failings, including a communications breakdown among healthcare workers. Perhaps too few people carry too heavy a workload. But a girl who was a victim in her homeland, where she says she was raped as an act of war, became a victim all over again in Ireland when her voice went unheard.

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