Petition: Call on the Irish Government to respect the rights and privacy of people living in Direct Provision

721 Actions Taken / Goal 1,000

The government has made a commitment to end Direct Provision by 2025. However, there are still ongoing challenges affecting people living in Direct Provision today. 

ActionAid Ireland and AkiDwA have been working with a group of women living in Direct Provision who have identified four issues that relate to their privacy and dignity that need urgent attention. They want the government to request that all Direct Provision Management immediately do the following: 

  1. No longer open the private correspondence sent to residents.
  2. Remove requirements to sign in and out of accommodation centres, including the removal of curfews imposed on residents.
  3. Stop unannounced inspections of rooms.
  4. Ensure that no more than two people (non-family members) share a room

I call on the Irish government to request that all Direct Provision Management immediately do the following:

  1. No longer open the private correspondence sent to residents.
  2. Remove requirements to sign in and out of accommodation centres, including the removal of curfews imposed on residents.
  3. Stop unannounced inspections of rooms.
  4. Ensure that no more than two people (non-family members) share a room.

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The reality of Direct Provision

Below are snapshots of the lived realities women who have direct experience of the International Protection Accommodation Services in Ireland (better known as the Direct Provision system). The women who are engaging on this project have spoken to their peers and know that these experiences are not unique to them but sadly are a reality for many people today. Please read through them and consider signing the petition that was developed by the woman themselves.

Please note any identifying information has been removed and names have been changed.

Opening private mail

Sharon lived in a Direct Provision in the midlands of Ireland and frequently received letters that had been opened by the time they were given to her. On one such occasion she received a letter from a local hospital regarding a personal appointment, on it was clearly written private and confidential but the letter had been opened. When Sharon queried with management on why her private post had been opened, she was told they don’t know.

Unannounced inspections of rooms

Sadie lived in a Direct Provision centre in the South of Ireland and has since moved to another centre. Whilst living in the previous centre she found that staff would knock and not wait for a response and enter her room where she lives with her family. On one occasion Sadie was taking a shower and having heard movement outside realised the management had entered her room, she screamed “I am in the bathroom” over and over and they then left. Sadie received no apology after the event and changed her shower time to avoid it happening again.

Requirements to sign in and out of accommodation centres and curfews

Audrey lives in a Direct Provision in the midlands of Ireland where there is a strict registry on who is in the centre. You must inform the management when you are leaving and entering the centre. The registry is used by the centre management to flag to IPAS when a person hasn’t been in the centre for four days so they can give away your bed. This means for example that Audrey is at risk when she wants to visit a friend or work somewhere that isn’t within reachable distance to her centre that she could lose her accommodation.

More than two people who are non-family members share a room

Stella was living in a centre in the East of Ireland. She had to share a room with two other people and share a bathroom with another bedroom, meaning six people were sharing the one bathroom. Stella was 12 weeks pregnant during this time and found the living situation incredibly hard as she would regularly need the bathroom, but it was often occupied. This meant she would frequently have to hold it in. She requested to have some privacy but was told it wasn’t possible. It was not until Stella sadly had a miscarriage and returned to the centre from the hospital that she was given her own room, but that did not last long and she was back sharing a room and a bathroom with more people very soon after her miscarriage.

My Rights, My Privacy is a campaign that was inspired by the Amplify Our Voices Conference that took place in December 2021 that explored the topics of Privacy and Mental Health in the Direct Provision system.  ActionAid Ireland and AkiDwA are working with several women to support them raise the issues in the system that relate to privacy. This petition and campaign are based entirely by their lived experiences.

We want to thank our donor St. Stephens Green Trust for their continued support for this important project.  

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