ATHENS, 17 July 2024 – More than 6,400 migrant-refugee children entered Greece this year, more than four times the number for the same period in 2023, said Save the Children, calling for greater protections for children fleeing war and hunger.  

Analysis of monthly figures from UNHCR suggest that between January and June this year, about 5,580 migrant-refugee children arrived by sea to Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, while about 830 arrived by land – a combined nearly 250% increase compared to the 1,850 migrant-refugee  children who arrived in the first half of 2023.  

About one in every four child migrants who arrived in Greece this year came without family or a legal guardian—totalling over 1,500 unaccompanied migrant-refugee children, or triple the figure from the first half of 2023.

Fileri Kyriaki, a lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees—a Save the Children local partner that advocates for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers—works on the Greek island of Kos, which is struggling with overcrowded refugee reception facilities known as Closed Controlled Access Centres.

Fileri said children travelling to Greece often experience agony and fear, knowing that they could die on their journey.

“There are no safe and legal channels to migration. The children have to risk their lives,” she said. “[And when they get to Kos] there is a total and chronic lack of adequate medical services, while at the same time the island’s structure is also insufficient for its inhabitants. There’s no capacity to actually screen vulnerabilities or provide them with the health care they need.”

Unaccompanied and separated children face additional barriers when they reach the Closed Controlled Access Centres. Until a guardian is appointed, these children have no one to bring them clothes, shoes or even a cell phone to call home and talk to their family.

Fileri said unaccompanied children also have to spend about two to three weeks in a fenced area called a ‘safe area’ until they are transferred to a shelter for unaccompanied children.

“Imagine that when an unaccompanied child is placed in the safe area, they are still wearing the wet clothes they wore during the boat journey. There is nothing to do in the safe area, no activities at all, recreational or otherwise. They are bored, and the place feels like a prison – it’s not at all child-friendly.  It is a container with barbed wire around it. In that sense, children who travelled with their families can exit the camp, while unaccompanied children cannot,” she said.

Last year, Save the Children and the Greek Council of Refugees found that most unaccompanied children seeking safety in Greece had their asylum claims rejected, leaving them without legal papers and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Now, with the European Union and its Member States approving the new Pact on Migration and Asylum – a legislative reform that will shape the region’s future migration system—earlier this year, there is concern that conditions could worsen for children. This move is expected to erode protections systems for children, potentially leading to more time in detention centres and more pushbacks at borders. 

Willy Bergogné, Save the Children Europe’s Director and EU Representative, said: 

“Children arriving alone in Greece are facing dire conditions that demand urgent attention, and the new EU Pact could make a bad situation even worse for them. Every child deserves safety and dignity upon arrival.  Yet, these children arriving in Greece are not being treated as children. It's imperative that Greek authorities and the EU step up to provide robust guardianship, essential proper protection systems, and improved living standards. The Mediterranean also cannot continue to be a graveyard for children. Safe and accessible routes into Europe must be established to ensure their safe passage.”

Save the Children and the Greek Council for Refugees are calling on Greek authorities to ensure a dedicated focal point or guardian is assigned to every unaccompanied and separated child from their first day in the country and to fund robust child protection services to guarantee their safety and well-being.

The two organisations are also calling for the Greek authorities to improve the living conditions at Closed Controlled Access Centres for children. This includes facilitating access to the host community and implement regular maintenance and cleaning protocols for facilities. Provision of essential recreational equipment and prompt action on hygiene concerns are crucial to mitigate health risks, such as frequent scabies outbreaks.

Save the Children is calling on the authorities in charge of implementing the EU Pact on Migration & Asylum to prioritise the protection of children and take steps to address and minimise any risks that could harm their rights. The decisions made by national authorities regarding border procedures, child protection measures, and monitoring systems will make a major difference in the lives and wellbeing of children and families seeking safety in Europe. 

The Greek Council for Refugees is the oldest NGO for refugee rights in the country. It provides legal and psychosocial support to refugees, and also provides interpretation and educational support.

Save the Children works with refugee and migrant-refugee children inside and outside of Europe, aiming to support vulnerable children with the greatest needs.

ENDS 

Methodology 

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For further information, please contact Kostas Vlachopoulos, GCR’s Communications Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 15 July 2024 13:04

PROJM_150724

ΠΡΟΚΗΡΥΞΗ ΘΕΣΗΣ

ΕΣΠ ΑΡΙΘΜ. 150724

ΤΙΤΛΟΣ ΘΕΣΗΣ

Υπεύθυνος/η Διαχείρισης Προγραμμάτων

ΤΟΠΟΣ ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑΣ

Αθήνα

 

«Ελληνικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγες», «Υποστήριξη Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο»
κατά του Υπουργού Εξωτερικών και Υπουργού Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου
 
Στις 13 Ιουνίου 2024 δημοσιεύθηκαν οι προτάσεις του Γενικού Εισαγγελέα του Δικαστηρίου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενωσης Priit Pikamäe επί του προδικαστικού ερωτήματος που υπέβαλλε το Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας προς το Δικαστήριο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενωσης, σχετικά με το ζήτημα εάν μια τρίτη χώρα μπορεί να χαρακτηριστεί ως γενικά ασφαλής για αιτούντες διεθνή προστασία, σύμφωνα με τις διατάξεις του άρθρου 38 της οδηγίας 2013/32, όταν έχει στην πραγματικότητα αναστείλει, γενικώς και χωρίς να προβλέπεται προοπτική μεταβολής της στάσης αυτής, την επανεισδοχή των εν λόγω αιτούντων στο έδαφός της.
 
Διαβάστε ολόκληρο το σχόλιο εδώ

 

Εισήγηση του Προέδρου του ΔΣ του Ελληνικού Συμβουλίου για τους Πρόσφυγες, κυρίου Βασίλη Παπαδόπουλου στην Ημερίδα της Ελληνικής Ένωσης για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου με τίτλο: "Τα δικαιώματα σήμερα: τα κενά και οι προκλήσεις στην προστασία τους"
 
Βασικά θέματα που αναλύθηκαν στην παρούσα εισήγηση αφορούν δύο κύκλους προβληματισμών σχετικά με την προστασία των προσφύγων. Πρώτον, αναλύεται το ζήτημα της έναρξης της υποχρέωσης προστασίας από ένα κράτος και αν αυτή μπορεί να αξιωθεί εκτός της επικράτειάς του, εστιάζοντας στην αποδοχή εισόδου προσφύγων και την τήρηση της αρχής μη επαναπροώθησης. Αυτά τα ζητήματα συνδέονται με την κρατική κυριαρχία και το δικαίωμα των κρατών να ελέγχουν την είσοδο και παραμονή των αλλοδαπών στην επικράτειά τους.
 
Δεύτερον, εξετάζεται η δυνατότητα μετάθεσης της ευθύνης παροχής προσφυγικής προστασίας σε τρίτες χώρες μέσω διεθνών συμφωνιών. Αναφέρεται ότι, αν και δεν θα αναλυθεί πλήρως το θέμα στην παρούσα συνεδρία, τονίζονται οι υποχρεώσεις των κρατών υποδοχής που δεν απαλλάσσονται από την ευθύνη τους για παροχή προστασίας από τη στιγμή της εισόδου του πρόσφυγα στη χώρα. Επιπλέον, γίνεται αναφορά στον Κανονισμό του Δουβλίνου και στη συναφή νομολογία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.
 
Διαβάστε ολόκληρη την εισήγηση εδώ

The new issue of the Greek Asylum Case Law Report released today provides excerpts from 57 decisions by administrative and civil courts, the Independent Appeals Committees and the Asylum Service, mainly issued in the first half of 2024.

This issue covers topics such as the interpretation of the “safe third country” concept, evidence assessment and refugee status determination, procedural safeguards in the asylum procedure, the workings of administrative appeals and of judicial protection of asylum seekers, as well as immigration detention.

In addition to the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), HIAS Greece and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), Issue 1/2024 of Greek Asylum Case Law Report received contributions from civil society organisations METAdrasi, European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL) and Refugee Legal Support (RLS), as well as lawyers of the Legal Aid Registry of the Asylum Service, selected from their respective casework. 

You can access Issue 1/2024 of the Greek Asylum Case Law Report here.

Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

HIAS Greece

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

New Report addressing climate induced massive migration before it happens 
 
Greek civil society initiative for the protection of climate refugees
 
The Greek Council for Refugees and WWF Greece published the report “Climate Refugees: Addressing climate-induced massive migration before it happens”. In this report, the two Greek organisations hope to encourage a dialogue which will provide civil society with a shared understanding of the challenges and the need for a robust human rights-based system of protection for climate refugees.
 
As global overheating will most probably exceed the climate ‘defense line’ of 1.5oC within 2024, thus significantly increasing the risk of more frequent extreme weather events, the impacts on human communities are reasonably expected to skyrocket. The broader Eastern Mediterranean region is already suffering from relentlessly brutal climate disasters, while it is geographically placed as the gateway of migration to Europe of persons originating from the continents of Africa and Asia. In the midst of this harsh reality, all countries need to proactively set in place proper mechanisms that will ensure the safe and orderly movement of climate refugees. Offering protection to the invisible victims, i.e. the persons displaced from their homelands due to disastrous weather extremes and slow onset climate events, is a fundamental first step towards building a protection and assistance system, so as to proactively address the prospect of climate-induced massive migration before it happens.
 
To date, a significant part of the public discourse on the impact of climate change on human displacement focuses on projections and estimations of the size of cross-border migration. This report argues that the discourse needs to be about human rights and how to defend them, in view of an unfolding climate crisis which beyond the 2oC threshold will most likely drag humanity into a state of a long emergency, beyond adaptation capacity. Since the narrative is about the rights of persons in distress, it is important that the debate about climate migration is not used for purposes other than the protection per se of each displaced person. Climate change being in its very essence a human rights crisis, it is important that all mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies be founded on a solid human rights basis.
 
Aspiring to open an informed civil society dialogue on climate migration, GCR and WWF Greece argue that it is essential for Europe to address the issue in a coherent manner and to allow its climate policies and human rights acquis to mature, by addressing the deficit in legal protection for persons displaced due to climate change and championing the development of an international protection framework.
 
In this report, the two Greek organisations propose a definition of the term ‘climate refugee’ and a package of proposed legislative initiatives granting temporary protection for climate refugees and the right to apply for asylum. The proposed framework will hopefully serve as the basis for a structured and coherent dialogue between civil society organisations from all countries in Europe.
 
Download the full report here

New Report addressing climate induced massive migration before it happens 
 
Greek civil society initiative for the protection of climate refugees
 
The Greek Council for Refugees and WWF Greece published the report “Climate Refugees: Addressing climate-induced massive migration before it happens”. In this report, the two Greek organisations hope to encourage a dialogue which will provide civil society with a shared understanding of the challenges and the need for a robust human rights-based system of protection for climate refugees.
 
As global overheating will most probably exceed the climate ‘defense line’ of 1.5oC within 2024, thus significantly increasing the risk of more frequent extreme weather events, the impacts on human communities are reasonably expected to skyrocket. The broader Eastern Mediterranean region is already suffering from relentlessly brutal climate disasters, while it is geographically placed as the gateway of migration to Europe of persons originating from the continents of Africa and Asia. In the midst of this harsh reality, all countries need to proactively set in place proper mechanisms that will ensure the safe and orderly movement of climate refugees. Offering protection to the invisible victims, i.e. the persons displaced from their homelands due to disastrous weather extremes and slow onset climate events, is a fundamental first step towards building a protection and assistance system, so as to proactively address the prospect of climate-induced massive migration before it happens.
 
To date, a significant part of the public discourse on the impact of climate change on human displacement focuses on projections and estimations of the size of cross-border migration. This report argues that the discourse needs to be about human rights and how to defend them, in view of an unfolding climate crisis which beyond the 2oC threshold will most likely drag humanity into a state of a long emergency, beyond adaptation capacity. Since the narrative is about the rights of persons in distress, it is important that the debate about climate migration is not used for purposes other than the protection per se of each displaced person. Climate change being in its very essence a human rights crisis, it is important that all mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies be founded on a solid human rights basis.
 
Aspiring to open an informed civil society dialogue on climate migration, GCR and WWF Greece argue that it is essential for Europe to address the issue in a coherent manner and to allow its climate policies and human rights acquis to mature, by addressing the deficit in legal protection for persons displaced due to climate change and championing the development of an international protection framework.
 
In this report, the two Greek organisations propose a definition of the term ‘climate refugee’ and a package of proposed legislative initiatives granting temporary protection for climate refugees and the right to apply for asylum. The proposed framework will hopefully serve as the basis for a structured and coherent dialogue between civil society organisations from all countries in Europe.
 
Download the full report here

Ο πρωθυπουργός έχει μια στρεβλή άποψη για το τι σημαίνει «το νερό έχει μπει στο αυλάκι» στη διαχείριση της Μετανάστευσης  

«Στα ζητήματα γενικά της μετανάστευσης το νερό έχει μπει στο αυλάκι». Αυτό τόνισε μεταξύ άλλων ο Πρωθυπουργός σε δηλώσεις του κατά την διάρκεια της επίσκεψης του στο Υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου με αφορμή τον ανασχηματισμό και τον ορισμό του νέου υπουργού Ν.Παναγιωτόπουλο. Ο Πρωθυπουργός υπενθύμισε, επίσης, την προσέγγιση της σκληρής αλλά δίκαιης μεταναστευτική πολιτικής που εφαρμόζει η κυβέρνηση του, η οποία έχει συγκεκριμένα και μετρήσιμα αποτελέσματα.
 
Υπάρχουν βέβαια ζητήματα στα οποία δεν αναφέρθηκε ο πρωθυπουργός, ενώ θα έπρεπε.
 
1. Το γεγονός ότι το σύστημα υποδοχής είναι διαμορφωμένο στη λογική των μειωμένων ροών το έχει καταστήσει εξαιρετικά ευάλωτο στην ελάχιστη αύξηση. Με αποτέλεσμα το σύστημα υποδοχής να μην μπορεί να ανταποκριθεί και η Ελλάδα να έχει καταδικαστεί σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις για τις ακατάλληλες συνθήκες υποδοχής ειδικά σε περιπτώσεις ευάλωτων.
 
2. Η σκληρή αλλά δίκαιη πολιτική, ειδικά μετά τον Μάρτιο του 2020 και τα γεγονότα στον Έβρο και την εργαλειοποίηση προσφύγων από την Τουρκία, εκφράζεται κυρίως μέσω επαναπροωθήσεων κατά παράβαση του διεθνούς δικαίου. Η Ελλάδα χαρακτηρίστηκε από την ΕΕ ως Ασπίδα της Ευρώπης και τα pushback έγινα το κύριο εργαλείο διαχείρισης της μετανάστευσης.
 
3. Η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται απέναντι σε εκατοντάδες καταγγελίες επαναπροωθήσεων και πλέον είναι τέτοια η ένταση και ο βαθμός των παραβιάσεων που ακόμα και ο Frontex έχει σκεφτεί να αποχωρήσει από τη χώρα υπό τον φόβο να κατηγορηθεί ως συνένοχος παράνομων πράξεων.
 
Το ντοκιμαντέρ του BBC, στο οποίο, ανάμεσα στα άλλα, επιβεβαιώνεται και το βίντεο των New York Times, για το οποίο ο πρωθυπουργός είχε υποσχεθεί στον αέρα του CNN διαλεύκανση, έφερε την κυβέρνηση σε πολύ δύσκολη θέση.
 
Είχε προηγηθεί βέβαια το έγκλημα της Πύλου για το οποίο τα θύματα και οι οικογένειες τους περιμένουν δικαίωση. Τις τελευταίες μέρες έχουν δει το φως της δημοσιότητας και εκθέσεις
του Frontex και σε μια αναφέρεται ότι το περιστατικό το οποίο κλήθηκε να διερευνήσει το Γραφείο Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων του Οργανισμού και στο οποίο το Λιμενικό, σύμφωνα με την καταγγελία είναι υπεύθυνο για τον θάνατο ενός ατόμου είναι αξιόπιστο, πιθανό και εύλογο.
 
Είναι λοιπόν προφανές ότι ο πρωθυπουργός έχει μια στρεβλή άποψη για το τι σημαίνει «το νερό έχει μπει στο αυλάκι» στη διαχείριση της Μετανάστευσης.
 
*Ο Λευτέρης Παπαγιαννάκης είναι Διευθυντής του Ελληνικού Συμβουλίου για τους Πρόσφυγες Πηγή: www.rosa.gr
 
Πηγή: www.rosa.gr

The 2023 AIDA (Asylum Information Database) Annual Report for Greece has been published with information on the main changes that took place in the national asylum system during 2023 and early 2024. The Report inter alia includes recent developments regarding the asylum procedure, reception conditions, administrative detention of asylum seekers and the content of international protection.

Amongst the main issues observed during the reporting period:

  • An increase in arrivals (159%) and in the number of dead and missing persons (799), which more than doubled compared to 2022 (343), largely on account of the devastating Pylos shipwreck, which adds up to what the EU Ombudsman has noted as a “recent history of concerns about the Greek authorities’ compliance with fundamental rights obligations”.
  • The vast majority of those arriving in Greece seeking protection continue to be from countries experiencing protracted situations of violence and persecution. Almost one in four people arriving in Greece by sea were minors (24%).
  • The recognition rate of international protection at first instance stood at 76.7%, marking an increase compared to 2022 (62.3%).
  • A significant number of applicants continued receiving negative decisions on account of Türkiye’s designation as a “safe third country” by Greece, despite the fact that readmissions to Türkiye have been suspended for more than 4 years, inter alia resulting in an ongoing risk of destitution and detention for rejected applicants in Greece.
  • Pushback practices continued being reported in 2023 as well, prompting UN bodies to once more call on Greece "to ensure a transparent and impartial investigation into allegations of violations of the principles of non-refoulement and non-discrimination".
  • Access to the asylum procedure in the mainland remained extremely problematic during the year.
  • The majority of applications are rejected at second instance. Only 8.6% of appeals examined on the merits in 2023 resulted in granting refugee status.
  • On the islands, vulnerable applicants continue going through the asylum procedure without first having their vulnerability assessment completed.
  • Serious deficiencies continued to be recorded in relation to reception conditions in the newly established Closed Controlled Centres on the islands. A number of interim measures granted by the ECtHR in 2023 further confirm the system’s inadequacy.
  • Illegal use of detention of applicants continued to be observed, in violation of relevant national Court decisions, while no psychiatrist was available in any of Greece’s Pre-Removal Detention Centres at the end of the year.
  • Delays, at times exceeding even a year, in the renewal of the residence permits of beneficiaries of international protection in Greece continue to be an issue of concern, resulting in beneficiaries’ not having access to legal rights.
  • Multiple obstacles continue hindering beneficiaries’ enjoyment of the right to family reunification in Greece (GCR has filled 3 relevant applications before the ECtHR).
  • Beneficiaries of international protection continued to be systematically exposed to the risk of homeless and severe material deprivation, with a number of Court decisions in other EU member states ruling that the return of beneficiaries to Greece would amount to a violation of the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights).

Read the overview of the main changes in 2023 here.

For the full AIDA report for 2023 see here.

For the comments provided by the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum to the 2023 AIDA country report on Greece see here.

Implementation period: 1/1/2024-31/12/2024
Funding: Fondation Alta Mane, Geneva
Objectives:
  • To support refugee and immigrant children in their efforts to integrate into Greek society through strengthening their self-confidence and their trust in others, by giving them the opportunity to become familiar with the articles of the Convention on Children’s Rights (1989), and through developing a sense of reading and appreciation of literature,

  • To facilitate their artistic expression, whether it is individual expression or in a group context, through experiential exercises with the tools of Drama in Educational, as well as to allow the improvement of their social skills, such as communication, active listening, respect and empathy and

  • To create a safe and supportive environment for mentally traumatized and marginalized children to express themselves and interact with others, be it other children or the coordinators of the workshops.

Activities:

As part of the project, experiential workshops will be implemented on the occasion of the book "Do I Have the Right to Tell a Story?" ed. Apopeira, by Anna Mertzani, which was translated into English and Arabic. The book was donated  to the participants of the workshops and to PYXIDA’s beneficiaries. Also, Theatrical Game and Drama in Education workshops will be held in groups of children aged 7-17 in collaboration with other NGOs, as well as in Public Schools. In the framework of the same program, monthly guided tours to well-known Museums of Athens are provided, free of charge, to families in combination with artistic activities for the children, by our Museum Educator.

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