HL Deb 30 July 1997 vol 582 c46WA
Lord Parry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress is being made in the implementation of the Dublin Convention.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The Convention Determining the State Responsible for Examining Applications for Asylum Lodged in One of the Member States of the European Communities—the "Dublin Convention"—will come into force on 1 September 1997. The convention, which was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1992, provides a mechanism for determining which member state should be responsible for deciding an asylum application made in the European Union.

Responsibility is determined according to a set of criteria. These include whether the applicant has a close family member recognised as a refugee in another member state; whether another member state has granted the person a residence permit or visa; the location of any illegal entry into the European Union; and the existence of a previous asylum application. The applicant can only be transferred under the convention if the receiving state agrees that is responsible and if specific arrangements are made for the transfer. In many cases the receiving state will not be the one from which the applicant embarked. There will be no change to the existing requirement that we must be satisfied that the applicant's life or liberty would not be threatened in the country concerned on account of his race, religion, etc; and that he would not be sent on to another state in breach of the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees.

The convention provides for the exchange of information on asylum applicants with other European Union states. This may include personal information such as fingerprints. The convention requires that such information may only be used for asylum purposes and may only be communicated to the authorities competent to make decisions on asylum cases. Information about the basis of an asylum claim itself may only be exchanged with the permission of the applicant.