Asylum seekers tell of biometric tracking woes
22 November 2017 17:34 GMT

Asylum seekers in Europe say the continent's biometric database system is preventing them from being accepted by the countries they wish to settle in.

The EU asylum process is governed by the Dublin Regulation, which requires people to apply for protection in the first country they enter.

However, while many refugees submit their fingerprint in this country, they don’t want to remain in Italy or other southern European countries, such as Greece, where most asylum seekers arrive.

A refugee told IRIN that because their fingerprint is entered into a database that is searchable by police throughout the EU, they cannot apply for asylum anywhere else – barring a few exceptions.

The report details how in 2015, Italy received around 25,000 incoming transfer requests. In 2016, the number jumped to almost 65,000.

Between 2014 and 2016, Italy stopped fingerprinting every new arrival, and for a period of time, Germany and Sweden effectively suspended Dublin procedures for people escaping the Syrian war.

The IRIN report notes that there is broad consensus that the protocol does not equitably distribute the responsibility of processing asylum requests among the EU’s 28 member states and that it has failed to prevent people from moving to their preferred destinations after landing in Europe.