Adequate support during the interview
The LFIP makes a number of special provisions for “persons with special needs” including unaccompanied children. However, with the exception of unaccompanied children, the law falls short of providing comprehensive additional procedural safeguards to vulnerable categories of international protection applicants.
During the personal interview, where persons with special needs are concerned, the applicant’s sensitive condition shall be taken into account. However, no specific guidance is provided either in the LFIP or the RFIP as to whether the applicant’s preference on the gender of the interpreter should be taken into consideration or not. In practice, the confidentiality of interviews is not appropriately ensured in most cases, as interviews take place in open spaces at the different PDMM. This creates obstacles for applicants with sensitive cases such as LGBTI persons. LGBTI refugees have also stated that they were subjected to verbal abuse by some officers and other refugees in PDMM, and that they were mocked due to their sexual orientations and gender identities.
The RFIP instructs that interviews with children shall be conducted by trained personnel, sufficiently informed on the child’s psychological, emotional and physical development. The decision-making official shall give due regard to the possibility that the child may not have been able to fully substantially his or her request for international protection. Furthermore, if a psychologist, a pedagogue or a social worker was arranged to attend the interview, the expert’s written report on the child shall also be taken into consideration.
Prioritisation and exemption from special procedures
The law requires “priority” to be given to “persons with special needs” in all procedures, rights and benefits extended to international protection applicants. Registration interviews with unaccompanied minors and other persons who are unable to report to the designated registration premises in the province may be carried out in the locations where they are. It is understood from current practice that PDMM provide priority to unaccompanied children in registration process and personal interviews.
Unaccompanied children are exempted from the Accelerated Procedure and they may not be detained during the processing of their application, since Article 66 LFIP unambiguously orders that unaccompanied minor applicants shall be referred to an appropriate accommodation facility under the authority of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.
No such provisions are made in relation to other categories of vulnerable applicants. With the exemption of unaccompanied children, other vulnerable groups may be subjected to the accelerated procedure.
 Article 75(3) LFIP.
 Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.
 Article 123(2)(g) RFIP.
 Article 67 LFIP; Article 113(2) RFIP.
 Article 65(2) RFIP.