GCR submitted an application for annulment of the Legislative Act suspending to access the asylum procedure


Athens, 24 March 2020- On March 23rd, the Greek Council for Refugees filed, on behalf of its beneficiaries, before the Council of State an Application for the Annulment of the Legislative Act published on March 2, 2020, by virtue of which it was decided to temporarily suspend the possibility to apply for international protection and the immediate expulsion of those entering the country unlawfully during the time of its validity (March 2020), in clear violation of the right to to Asylum, which is enshrined by both, international and EU Law and at the same time, in violation of  the fundamental principle of non-refoulement.

This unprecedented decision to suspend the asylum procedure was strongly criticized by national and international bodies, among which the National Commission for Human Rights,[1] the UN High Commissioner for Refugees[2] and the UN Special Rapporteur for Migrants,[3] while the competent EU Commissioner for migration and asylum recently stated that “Individuals in the European Union have the right to apply for asylum. This is in the treaty, this is in international law. This we can’t suspend.”[4]

By an Application submitted on the same day, it was also requested the suspension of the removal of the applicants (three Afghan mothers who accompany their minor children) which comes as a result of the refusal of the Authorities, on the basis of the impugned Legislative Act, to receive the applications for international protection and expose them to an imminent risk of removal to Afghanistan or Turkey, where their life, their health and their fundamental rights will be in danger.  

GCR calls for the President of the Hellenic Republic to revoke this clearly unlawful Legislative Act and the Hellenic Parliament not to approve the Emergency Legislative Act, a procedure which started yesterday before the competent  Parliamentary Committee, so that Greece does not become the first country of the post-WW2 era to violate the internationally enshrined principle of non-refoulement and a fortiori by virtue of a law .





[1]              Statement by the Νational Commission for Human Rights: Reexamination of the asylum and migration policies and safeguarding human rights at the EU borders, March 5 2020, (in Greek): http://www.nchr.gr/images/pdf/DT_Dilosi%20Olomeleias%20EEDA%20gia%20synora.pdf

[2]              Statement by UNHCR on the situation at the Turkish-EU border, March 2, 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2020/3/5e5d08ad4/unhcr-statement-situation-turkey-eu-border.html

[3] UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Greece: Rights violations against asylum seekers at Turkey-Greece border must stop, March 23 2020, https://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25736&LangID=E.

[4]              The Guardian, Greece warned by EU it must uphold the right to asylum, 12 March 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/greece-warned-by-eu-it-must-uphold-the-right-to-asylum



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