Protocol no. 24: Fact or fiction for EU Roma?
Allveri, Robynn L.
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The legal systems of the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.) are premised upon common norms, resulting in very similar bodies of jurisprudence. Due to these shared legal principles, one would expect the EU and the U.S. to use similar standards in the adjudication of asylum claims. For the most part, this expectation holds true. However, a glaring difference exists when an applicant’s country of origin is an EU member state. Asylum adjudicators in the U.S. examine the individual merits of a claim, regardless of the applicant’s country of origin. On the other hand, EU adjudicators are required to presume that asylum claims filed by EU nationals are without merit. This presumption comes primarily from the Protocol on Asylum for Nationals of Member States of the European Union (Protocol No. 24), the main subject of this paper. Protocol No. 24 eviscerates the asylum claims of Roma who are persecuted in the EU. It creates an almost irrebuttable presumption against EU asylum applicants, stating that EU member states are “safe countries of origin” and EUorigin asylum claims are deemed “manifestly unfounded.” Protocol No. 24 is discriminatory and conflicts with the reality faced by many EU Roma. The multi-faceted approach of the U.S. asylum regime provides a more thorough and meaningful review of Roma asylum claims. Cases are assessed on an individual basis, with little (if any) legal presumptions against the applicant. The EU should adopt a similar asylum regime and reject the exclusionary mandate of Protocol No. 24.