Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, has issued a statement in relation to a press release issued by the Lëtzebuerger Flüchtlingsrot (LFR) earlier today, 11 August 2020, which alleged cases of violations of fundamental rights during the submission of asylum applications to Luxembourg.
Jean Asselborn, Minister of Immigration and Asylum, has rejected the various accusations in the article.
The rejection statement noted that the Immigration Department's first-time reception officers are regularly confronted with a disrespectful, even threatening public, with situations requiring the intervention of security agents. As a result, the testimonies allegedly collected by members of the LFR should therefore be put into perspective.
The statement also noted that the health crisis has not had any repercussions on the possibility of submitting applications for international protection in the Grand Duchy, so that all the fundamental guarantees of the law of 18 December 2015 relating to protection international law and temporary protection have been, and continue to be, respected. Thus, the first-time reception service of the Directorate of Immigration, in charge of opening applications, was open throughout the period of the crisis. In addition, the government has extended (the validity of) all certificates of filing for expiring international protection for the duration of the state of crisis.
However, the statmeent continued that no application for international protection could be registered between 29 June 2020 and 9 July 2020 due to technical problems linked to the "Eurodac" system. This resulted in people having to return to open their claims. During this period, those concerned were nevertheless accommodated and supervised by the National Reception Office (ONA).
At the level of the procedure for lodging applications for international protection, officers provide applicants with relevant information on the asylum procedure; this information is transmitted orally in the presence of an interpreter. In accordance with article 11 of the law of 18 December 2015 and article 4 of the Dublin lll regulation, agents have a legal obligation to inform people who, according to legal provisions, are not qualified so that the procedure can be continued in Luxembourg. The law of 18 December 2015 clearly lists the situations in which either a decision of lack of jurisdiction or a decision of inadmissibility is taken. In order not to give false hope to these people, it is important to provide them with this information as soon as possible.
In practice, once informed, many people decide not to apply for international protection and return to the Member State either responsible for their application or which has already granted them international protection. This personal decision is recorded in writing and countersigned by the interested parties. If, however, a person maintains his wish to submit an application for international protection, the application will be duly registered.
While the number of people falling under the scope of the Dublin Regulation remains constant, many people who already have international protection and a residence permit in another Member State report to the Directorate of the immigration to submit a new application. Such people already benefit from social and material assistance in another Member State, or even already work there, and therefore can travel freely in the Schengen area like any other citizen of the Union. If, however, the person concerned maintains his/her wish to submit a new request, the authorities register the request while taking a decision of inadmissibility as soon as possible, or even on the same day, which in no way amounts to refusal to register the request. Once their application has been declared inadmissible, these people are in fact no longer entitled to reception assistance. That being said, if necessary, those concerned are redirected to other support and housing services that exist regardless of the person's origin or stay.
The stetment concluded with, regarding the accusations relating to the presumption of minority, the Minister reiterated his obligation to protect children in homes and schools. It is necessary to prevent adults from being placed among children, i.e. adults who fraudulently attempt to benefit from advantageous arrangements which would not otherwise be granted to them. In 2019, for example, 64 people tried to pose as minors, compared to another 40 people in 2018.
Finally, the Ministry stated that the Minister is ready to receive the members of the LFR to discuss in person the concerns expressed in the press release.