On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Caritas Europa calls on the EU and its Member States to fully ensure access to family reunification for all refugees.
To Caritas Europa, the right to family life is one of the pillars of human rights. Access to family reunification is an essential element in ensuring the protection and integration of refugees. To improve access to family reunification for refugees, Caritas Europa calls for better implementation of EU rules. The purpose of these rules is to assist families to enjoy family life in one country, but some EU Member States have repeatedly failed to apply accordingly.
“It is important to acknowledge that in times of war or a difficult humanitarian situation, it may be impossible to obtain travel and civil status documents. Some groups of refugees, such as Somali and Afghans, are currently highly discriminated in the process of reunification,” says Jorge Nuño-Mayer, Secretary-General of Caritas Europa.
“Various practical reasons may prevent refugees from submitting their application within three months after being granted their status, such as lack of documents or family tracing. In our view such a provision is highly problematic as it may make it impossible for refugees to enjoy their right to family reunification for reasons that are beyond their control. Member States must handle the three months limitation with great care,” he says.
Family reunification should be granted to ALL refugees, also humanitarian refugees.
As the European Commission is currently drafting interpretative guidelines to enhance interpretation of the Directive, Caritas Europa wishes to reiterate its concerns with regards to access to family reunification for ALL refugees.
“Whilst humanitarian refugees are not explicitly included within the scope of the EU Directive, this instrument offers the flexibility to guarantee the right to family reunification to humanitarian refugees under the same favourable rules as for other refugees. Based on best practices, Caritas Europa calls on all EU Member States Member States to grant similar rights to humanitarian refugees as any other beneficiary of international protection,” says Daphné Bouteillet-Paquet, policy officer on migration and asylum issues at Caritas Europa.
For further information:
Policy Officer for Migration and Asylum