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The Dublin Regulation (Regulation No 604/2013; sometimes the Dublin III Regulation; previously the Dublin II Regulation and Dublin Convention) is a European Union (EU) law that determines the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive, within the European Union. It is the cornerstone of the Dublin System, which consists of the Dublin Regulation and the EURODAC Regulation, which establishes a Europe-wide fingerprinting database for unauthorised entrants to the EU. The Dublin Regulation aims to “determine rapidly the Member State responsible [for an asylum claim]” and provides for the transfer of an asylum seeker to that Member State. Usually, the responsible Member State will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.
The Dublin regime was originally established by the Dublin Convention, which was signed in Dublin, Ireland on 15 June 1990, and first came into force on 1 September 1997 for the first twelve signatories (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), on 1 October 1997 for Austria and Sweden, and on 1 January 1998 for Finland. While the convention was only open to accession by member states of the European Communities, Norway and Iceland, non-member states, concluded agreements with the EC to apply the provisions of the Convention in their territories.
The Dublin II Regulation was adopted in 2003, replacing the Dublin Convention in all member states except Denmark, which has an opt-out from implementing regulations under the area of freedom, security and justice. Denmark subsequently came to an agreement with the EU on extending the application of the Regulation to Denmark. The provisions of the Regulation were also extended to non-member states Switzerland on 1 March 2008, which on 5 June 2005 voted by 54.6% to ratify it, and Liechtenstein.
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On 3 December 2008, the European Commission proposed amendments to the Dublin Regulation, creating an opportunity for reform of the Dublin System. The Dublin III Regulation (No 604/2013) was approved in June 2013, replacing the Dublin II Regulation, and applies to all member states except Denmark. It came into force on 19 July 2013. It is based on the same principle on the previous two i.e. that the first Member State where finger prints are stored or an asylum claim is lodged is responsible for a person's asylum claim.
One of the principal aims of the Dublin Regulation is to prevent an applicant from submitting applications in multiple Member States. Another aim is to reduce the number of "orbiting" asylum seekers, who are shuttled from member state to member state. However since the country that a person first arrived in is responsible for dealing with the application, this puts excessive pressure on border areas, where states are often least able to offer asylum seekers support and protection. Currently, those being transferred under Dublin are not always able to access an asylum procedure. This puts people at risk of being returned to persecution.
According to European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and UNHCR the current system fails in providing fair, efficient and effective protection. It has been demonstrated on a number of occasions both by ECRE and UNHCR, that the regulation impedes the legal rights and personal welfare of asylum seekers, including the right to a fair examination of their asylum claim and, where recognized, to effective protection, as well as the uneven distribution of asylum claims among Member States.
Application of this regulation can seriously delay the presentation of claims, and can result in claims never being heard. Causes of concern include the use of detention to enforce transfers of asylum seekers from the state where they apply to the state deemed responsible, also known as Dublin transfers, the separation of families and the denial of an effective opportunity to appeal against transfers. The Dublin system also increases pressures on the external border regions of the EU, where the majority of asylum seekers enter EU and where states are often least able to offer asylum seekers support and protection.
After ECRE, the UNHCR and other non-governmental organisations openly criticized Greece's asylum system, including the lack of protection and care for unaccompanied children, several countries suspended transfers of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin II regulation. Norway announced in February 2008 it would stop transferring any asylum seeker back to Greece under the Dublin II regulation. In September, it backtracked and announced that transfers to Greece would be based on individual assessments. In April 2008 Finland announced a similar move.
The European Court of Human Rights in the case M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece, judged on 21 January 2011 that both the Greek and the Belgian governments violated the European Convention on Human Rights when applying the EU law on asylum seekers and were given fines to the tune of some €6,000 and €30,000, respectively. Recently, voices have been heard calling for the imposition of tougher sanctions, should similar cases occur in the future.
- "COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national". Official Journal of the European Union L (50/1). 2003-02-25. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Convention determining the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the Member States of the European Communities (Deposited with the Government of Ireland)". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Iceland or Norway". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the state responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in Denmark or any other Member State of the European Union and "Eurodac" for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Switzerland". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Protocol between the European Community, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein on the accession of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Switzerland". Council of the European Union. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "European Commission Proposal to recast the Dublin Regulation" (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- "REGULATION (EU) No 604/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast)". Official Journal of the European Union L (180/31). 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- "Sharing Responsibility for Refugee Protection in Europe: Dublin Reconsidered". ECRE. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "ECRE Comments on the European Commission Proposal to recast the Dublin Regulation" (PDF). ECRE. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "UNHCR's Comments on the European Commission’s Proposal for a recast of the Dublin and Eurodac Regulations". UNHCR. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Greece under fire over refugee treatment". EU Observer. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "ECRE calls for suspension of Dublin transfers to Greece". ECRE. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Left to Survive: Systematic Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece". HRW. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Finland halts migrant transfer to Greece after UN criticism". EU Observer. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- The ‘Dublin Regulation’ undermines refugee rights
- Valentina Pop, "Human rights court deals blow to EU asylum system," EU Observer (21 January 2011). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- ECHR Press Release on the case
- Harald Köpping, "A Vision of a Fair Asylum System for Europe," EUtopia (11 July 2012). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Logics of Decision-making on Community Asylum Policy: A Case Study of the Evolvement of the Dublin II Regulation University of Oslo: ARENA Working Paper 03/2006
- Text of the Dublin Convention
- Text of the Dublin II regulation Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national
- European Council on Refugees and Exiles's (ECRE) position on the Dublin Regulation
- Fact sheet from the Irish Refugee Council
- Factsheet on "Dublin" cases before the European Court of Human Rights
- Article about an alternative to the distribution system of the Dublin II Regulation (Katapult-Magazine, 2015-04-07)