Experienced, trained staff are needed in national authorities throughout the asylum process to effectively identify and manage the procedural and reception requirements accorded to vulnerable applicants. Training efforts continued throughout 2019, mainly focused on the situation of minors. This section mentions training initiatives provided by national authorities, which generally build on EASO’s training modules. It should be noted as well that UNHCR, the IOM and national NGOs frequently provided training in countries as well. Various countries reported the use of EASO training modules, typically on interviewing vulnerable applicants and interviewing children, including for example, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany and Malta.
Training on working with unaccompanied minors was offered to reception centre staff in Finland and Lithuania and State Border Guard officers in Latvia.
UNHCR organised several workshops related to minor applicants. For example, in Croatia police officers, social workers and childcare professionals were trained on identifying unaccompanied minors, best interest assessments, health care assessments and access to international protection. In Romania, UNHCR organised a series of workshops on guardianship for unaccompanied children, in partnership with the National Child Protection Agency and General Inspectorate for Immigration.
The Swedish Migration Agency trained around 500 case officers and 40 head of units in children's rights. Senior case workers in Germany received additional training in detecting child labour. OFPRA provided several training courses on unaccompanied minors in the asylum procedure to both external stakeholders and staff, in particular to senior protection officers.
Female applicants and their procedural and reception needs were less prominent as a training topic in 2019. However, the Swedish Migration Agency launched a new online training programme on gender-based violence within the asylum procedure for its staff. In addition, Germany provided advanced training on FGM for senior case workers.
Extensive training initiatives were reported in Belgium, covering a wide range of stakeholders and topics. Among others, the staff of two Fedasil reception centres and one Red Cross centre underwent intensive training in restorative practices developed by the Oranjehuis NGO to prevent and reduce conflicts between unaccompanied minors and staff, provide sustainable measures for minors and reduce the need for disciplinary transfers. This project started in 2018 and should continue throughout 2020.264 OFPRA in France also reported on extensive training for senior protection officers on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In Denmark, a number of employees of the Danish Immigration Service, the Danish Refugee Appeals Board and other relevant stakeholders participated in a week-long specialised training course on asylum interviews with unaccompanied minors. The training included sessions on children’s cognitive development, memory and suggestibility, and provided relevant tools for interviewing children while taking into account these factors.
UNHCR Austria and the UNHCR Representation to the European Institutions in Strasbourg jointly organised, with the Council of Europe, two workshops for case workers and adjudicators of the Austrian BFA on claims to refugee status of LGBTIQ persons. UNHCR Austria, together with the NGO Queer Base, organised a similar workshop for judges of the Federal Administrative Court. 265
Authorities organised several training courses to support asylum and reception staff in identifying and supporting victims of human trafficking, for instance in France and Germany. The Asyl-Train project implemented by IOM Austria continued in 2019 and provided training to relevant national authorities and service providers to help identify trafficked persons in the framework of the asylum procedure.266 The Croatian Red Cross held training on the same topic for border police officers.
264 See also: EASO. (2019). Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2018. https://easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/easo-annual-report-2018-web.pdf
265 UNHCR Austria. (2020). Written input to “EASO Asylum Report 2020: Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union".
266 IOM. (n.d.). ASYL-Train. Retrieved 20 May 2020, from https://austria.iom.int/en/asyl-train