An asylum seeker is a person who seeks to be recognised as a refugee in accordance with the terms of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees and the related 1967 Protocol, which provides the foundation for the international system of protection of refugees.
The definition of a refugee in Irish law is “a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it…”.
Under the Refugee Act, 1996 two independent statutory offices were established in November 2000 to consider applications/appeals for refugee status and to make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted. These two offices are the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC), which considers applications for a declaration as a refugee at first instance and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which considers applications for a declaration at appeal stage.
Key statistics in relation to Asylum are available on the websites of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.
Links to websites:Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC)
Refugee Appeals Tribunal
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