Proposal of EURODAC amendment: UNHCR calls for stringent safeguards if data is shared with authorities

by zoejardiniere

23.11.2012 UNHCR Bureau for Europe has released comments on the European Commission’s amended proposal regarding the EURODAC regulation that focuses on the database used for the comparison of fingerprints in the application of the Dublin II Regulation. The proposal would allow for the possibility for Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol to compare EURODAC data for law enforcement purposes. UNHCR’s position is that EURODAC should only be used to facilitate the implementation of Dublin II, and if the proposal is adopted, it should include several safeguards.

UNHCR considers that EURODAC should be used for its original purpose, i.e. limited to asylum issues and not for other objectives. If the Commission’s proposal is to be adopted, UNHCR recommends that safeguards are implemented. Firstly, considering the risk of erroneous matches and the damaging consequences thereof, such comparisons should only be envisaged as a last resort. Secondly, UNHCR asserts that the prohibition of transfer of information on asylum-seekers to third countries should be clarified to reinforce the protection of data. The potential risk of stigmatisation of asylum-seekers following an implied association with criminal activity should be evaluated. Moreover, UNHCR underlines that when a crime is investigated, the authorities should have substantial suspicion that the perpetrator is an asylum seeker to have access to the database. It also recommends that the applicant be informed that his or her data may be accessed for the purpose of criminal investigation.

 

For further information:

–         UNHCR Bureau for Europe, An efficient and protective Eurodac, November 2012

–         ECRE Weekly Bulletin Meijers Committee opposes proposal to allow use of EURODAC for law enforcement purposes 12 October 2012

 

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