Currently, the CGRS is examining various options to guarantee its continuous functioning in periods such as these, in which we were unexpectedly confronted with Covid-19. Although the CGRS will resume interviewing unaccompanied minors in the near future, initially it will not do so at full capacity because of the required corona safety measures. We will then adapt ourselves to the evolution of the public health situation.
EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, urges the European Member States to examine alternatives for the continued processing of applications for international protection to guarantee international protection in crisis situations. One of the possibilities recommended by EASO is the organization of video interviews.
A limited pilot project
Therefore, CGRS decided to launch, in consultation with the Guardianship Service, Fedasil and the Red Cross, a limited pilot project with video interviews. Due to the current situation, it is not possible to organize video interviews in the reception centres. However, the Red Cross and its guardians are willing to organize a limited number of video interviews at their head office in Mechelen. The head office possesses a meeting room with a large video screen, where the social distancing rules can be observed during a video interview. The Guardianship Service supports this project, which runs from 22 June until 3 July.
Next, the project will be evaluated with the persons present at the personal interview and the parties involved. During their coaching sessions, the Red Cross guardians will fully inform the other voluntary and independent guardians of their observations, the practical organization and the course of a video interview. We must stress however that a personal interview at the CGRS remains the norm.
We will inform the partners involved of the results of the assessment of this project at a later stage.