The issue of protection (provision of asylum) in Greece is extremely problematic. Our country is the first stop in the journey of a large and difficult to manage number of refugees and migrants in general, who are hoping to enter the EU by crossing the land borders of Greece - Turkey or crossing the Mediterranean by boat. Many of these persons do not succeed, losing every day their lives in this perilous journey.
Refugees come to our country in order to make a fresh start without fearing for their lives being in danger. These people are entitled to international protection and Greece is obliged to provide it to them according to national, European and international law. However, migrants and refugees in Greece have to face from the beginning a complete lack of immigration policy with almost non-existent reception conditions, poor detention conditions and –particularly asylum seekers- with an especially hard to access asylum procedure, which impedes them from submitting their asylum request for months.
In addition to this, they are trapped in Greece even when they do not wish to remain here, because of the “Dublin II” Regulation. *
For this reason, in every stage of the procedure for the provision of international protection, GCR intervenes in order to ensure access of the asylum seekers to the asylum process, but also to contribute to the coverage of needs which, even though should be covered by the Society and despite of their urgency, remain pending.
The issue of asylum procedure in Greece, as well as the poor detention conditions at the detention centers or at the first reception centers for asylum seekers constitutes the main ground for the condemnation of our country by the European Court of Human Rights, as it is there that a systematic violation of fundamental human rights by the Greek authorities is observed.
Always bearing in mind the defense of human rights of this target group, GCR intervenes for their protection while simultaneously it denounces potential violations while also putting pressure so that the institutional framework becomes more favorable to beneficiaries of international protection.
Furthermore GCR is active against xenophobia and against incidents of racist violence against refugees and migrants. This phenomenon has during the last years increased in a rapid and concerning way. Once more, GCR takes an active position by organizing events aiming to raise awareness on this issue amongst the public (seminars, visits to schools etc) but also by taking charge of the registration and report of complaints of incidents of racist violence as well as the legal representation of the victims.
*(According to this Regulation, the first country of entry of an alien in the EU is, generally, responsible to examine and rule on the asylum request. This means that those entering the EU having Greece as a first entry country, even if they do not wish to remain there, but wish to seek protection in another European country (which is a party to this Regulation) will be returned to Greece to have their claim examined. Thus the responsibility of the latter is increased excessively as, due to its geographical position, Greece receives a large number of third country nationals in its territory.)