asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the functions of the Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on Asylum (known as "CIREA") in the context of policies and practices governing asylum seekers within the European Union; and to what extent and in what manner does the Government participate in the activities of CIREA. [HL3057]
The Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on Asylum (CIREA) was established in 1992 as an informal meeting point for the exchange, documentation and dissemination of information on matters relating to asylum in member states of the European Union. Following the Treaty on European Union in Maastricht in 1992, the CIREA mandate was legally adopted. CIREA's role is to contribute to the development of policy on asylum matters within the European Union. Member states provide information, documentation and statistics on asylum and related issues. Since June 1993, CIREA has shared information about the political, social, religious and economic situations in the countries of origin of asylum seekers.
The United Kingdom is regularly represented at CIREA meetings at official level. Reports are made to the Justice and Home Affairs Council as necessary. During the United Kingdom Presidency, CIREA conducted detailed examinations of member states' experiences, including the prevailing country conditions of a number of countries of origin of asylum applicants and brought a number of previous studies up to date.
Under the United Kingdom Presidency, CIREA continued its work in consultation with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in studying country conditions.