Brussels, 25 August – Appalled by European politicians’ emphasis on deterring refugees from Afghanistan, Save the Children has called on governments and the EU to fulfil their moral and legal obligations to guarantee the safety of children and families at risk of human rights violations, and to offer them asylum.

“For years, Europe has completely failed to meet the needs of migrant children, including unaccompanied children,” said Anita Bay, Director of Save the Children Europe.

“The result has been a shambolic humanitarian response, violations of child rights and a political crisis in the EU. Europe cannot continue to make the same mistakes – it must ensure that children fleeing Afghanistan can seek assistance, claim asylum, and have their rights respected.

European countries should urgently issue new guidance for Afghans at risk, recognising the dramatic change in the situation in Afghanistan, particularly for women, girls and LGBTQ children and adults.

“All Afghan nationals whose asylum applications have been rejected or are scheduled for deportation must have their cases reviewed in light of the takeover of the country by the Taliban,” Bay added.

"Κόψε αυτό το δέντρο είναι ξερό !", έλεγαν τα πουλιά όμως ο δασάρχης δεν καταλάβαινε τι του έλεγαν τα πουλιά...

Μια ιστορία, μια παραβολή για τη ζωή που μας θυμίζει να συνεχίζουμε την προσπάθεια και μας ξυπνά την ελπίδα που ίσως να έχουμε χάσει.

Το οπτικοακουστικό-παραμύθι «Το Δέντρο» είναι μια ιστορία σε έξι γλώσσες (ελληνικά, τουρκικά, γαλλικά, αραβικά, λινγκάλα, φαρσί) για να συνεχίζουμε την προσπάθεια ακόμη κι αν δεν βλέπουμε να καρποφορεί αλλά και ένα μήνυμα για τα παιδιά ότι καμιά προσπάθεια δεν πάει χαμένη γιατί όλες οι εμπειρίες και τα ερεθίσματα μας ενισχύουν και μια μέρα ξεκινούν να ανθίζουν! 

Αθήνα, 19 Ιουλίου 2021: Πρόσφατες δηλώσεις Ευρωπαίων αξιωματούχων και πορίσματα οργάνων των ευρωπαϊκών θεσμών υπενθυμίζουν αυτό που ήδη γνωρίζουν όσοι και όσες εργάζονται στο δύσκολο πεδίο του σύγχρονου προσφυγικού ζητήματος. Ότι δηλαδή, παρά τους ισχυρισμούς της Ελληνικής κυβέρνησης ότι οι καταγγελίες περί επαναπροωθήσεων στα ελληνικά χερσαία και θαλάσσια σύνορα αποτελούν «ψευδείς ειδήσεις» ή/και είναι αποτέλεσμα προπαγάνδας κέντρων που συνδέονται με την παράνομη διακίνηση ανθρώπων, οι ευρωπαϊκοί θεσμοί φαίνεται ότι δεν έχουν την ίδια γνώμη.

A decision of the European Committee on Social Rights finding that the living conditions of migrant children in Greece violated their human rights, should herald a new approach to protecting the rights of children in migration, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) said today.

The European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR), in its decision on the collective complaint brought by the ICJ and ECRE with the support of the Greek Council of Refugees (ICJ and ECRE v Greece), found that in its treatment of migrant children, Greece violated a number of provisions of the European Social Charter, which is binding on the States party to it.

“We welcome this decision which upholds our complaint of systematic violations of the rights of migrant children in Greece.” said Róisín Pillay, Europe and Central Asia director at ICJ. “These include inadequate, unhealthy and dangerous living conditions, homelessness, and lack of access to adequate healthcare and education. Comprehensive and effective measures now need to be taken to bring an end to the violations which the Committee has identified, and we will work with the Council of Europe supervisory bodies to ensure that this happens.”

The Committee found that overcrowded and substandard accommodation for both unaccompanied and accompanied children on the Greek islands, and the lack of sufficient appropriate long-term accommodation for unaccompanied children on the mainland, violated their rights to shelter (Article 31.2 of the Charter) and to social and economic protection (Article 17.1). It also failed to meet their right to protection against social and moral danger (Article 7.10), by exposing them to risks of abuse, violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking. The right to adequate housing (Article 31.1) of asylum-seeking and refugee children on the islands and of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children on the mainland, was also found to have been violated.

Press conference: 14 July at 12:00 EEST time

Refugees excluded in Greece: Designation of Turkey as a “safe third country”

Athens, 09/07/2021 - The undersigned organisations are organising an online press conference on Wednesday, 14 July, at 12:00 EEST, on the tightening policy of exclusion of refugees fleeing to Greece, following the latest decision of the Greek government to designate Turkey as a “safe third country”.

On June 7, 2021, the Minister of Migration and Asylum and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs designated Turkey as a “safe third country” for all asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Asylum seekers from these nationalities represent more than 67% of asylum seekers in the country.

The implementation of this decision leaves no room for misinterpretation. It has already resulted in asylum seekers being denied protection within barely a few days of their arrival, following asylum interviews of just a few minutes, without any assessment of their vulnerabilities and with no access to information and legal representation. It is the culmination of a policy that began in Greece in 2016, through the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement. It is a measure aimed at deterring refugees from reaching Greece and Europe, and at returning those that manage to arrive through any means – legal and illegal.

This measure will also lead to the emergence of a new population of undocumented and unprotected foreign nationals, intensifying the phenomena that led to Greece’s condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 in the case of MSS vs Belgium and Greece. We also recall that Greece remains to this day under the supervision of the Council of Europe with regards to the execution of the Court’s 2011 Judgement.

The decision to designate Turkey as a “safe third country” also comes against the backdrop of:

  • ongoing pushbacks of refugees from Greece’s land and sea borders (Evros region and the Aegean islands), which have escalated since March 2020. This is a practice that puts refugees’ lives at risk, blatantly violates their rights, while undermining democratic values and the rule of law and shaming our country internationally.
  • the lack of a coherent policy to support the integration of recognized refugees, which, indeed, is challenged as a process by the country’s financial situation, but is also actively hindered by the policies of the competent Greek Ministry. The most recent example is the decision to terminate the small financial aid provided to self-accommodated asylum seekers through EU funds, which obstructs their efforts to regain self-reliance, at the expense of integration prospects in the country.
  • the gradual transformation of the country's reception facilities into closed (islands) and controlled centers (mainland), and the increase in detention places, which indicate a willingness to regress to a regime of generalised detention and to isolated and forced asylum seekers and refugees in a state of ‘ghetoisation’.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, 14 July, at 12:00 EEST time at a live press conference that will be broadcasted through facebook,  where we will discuss these developments and their significance for the rights of refugees and the rule of law in Greece.


Τέθηκε στις 18-6-2021 σε δημόσια διαβούλευση η νομοθετική πρωτοβουλία του Υπουργείου Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, υπό τον τίτλο: «Αναμόρφωση διαδικασιών απελάσεων και επιστροφών πολιτών τρίτων χωρών, ζητήματα αδειών διαμονής και διαδικασιών χορήγησης διεθνούς προστασίας και άλλες διατάξεις αρμοδιότητας Υπουργείου Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου και Υπουργείου Προστασίας του Πολίτη».

Σύμφωνα με την ανακοίνωση του Υπουργείου με το προτεινόμενο νομοσχέδιο επιχειρείται η αποσαφήνιση και η αυστηροποίηση των διαδικασιών απελάσεων και επιστροφών με σκοπό την απομάκρυνση από τη χώρα όσων δεν δικαιούνται διεθνούς προστασίας, καθώς και η εξάλειψη αρρυθμιών του υπάρχοντος νομοθετικού πλαισίου, τις οποίες εκμεταλλεύονται πολίτες τρίτων χωρών ώστε να παραμένουν παρανόμως στη χώρα.

Πλην όμως, όπως θα αναλύσουμε κατωτέρω, πέρα του ότι ουδόλως επιτυγχάνεται ο σκοπός της εξάλειψης αρρυθμιών του υπάρχοντος νομοθετικού πλαισίου, πρόθεση του νομοθέτη σε συνέχεια προηγούμενων νομοθετικών ρυθμίσεων (του ν. 4636/2019 και ιδίως του ν. 4686/2020) είναι πράγματι η εξάλειψη ακόμη και των ελάχιστων δυνατοτήτων της νομοθεσίας για ρύθμιση του καθεστώτος διαμονής των «χωρίς χαρτιά».

Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο είναι εμφανής η διάθεση αυστηροποίησης της σχετικής νομοθεσίας με την προτεινόμενη πλήρη κατάργηση της κατηγορίας αδειών διαμονής για ανθρωπιστικούς λόγους.

Οι προθέσεις δε του νομοθέτη καθίστανται ακόμη περισσότερο ενδεικτικές, ενόψει και των πρόσφατων πρωτοβουλιών περί χαρακτηρισμού της Τουρκίας ως ασφαλούς τρίτης χώρας για την πλειονότητα των αιτούντων διεθνή προστασία (ήτοι όσων κατάγονται από Συρία, Αφγανιστάν, Σομαλία, Πακιστάν και Μπαγκλαντές)[1] όσο και του προηγούμενου χαρακτηρισμού σειράς χωρών ως ασφαλών χωρών καταγωγής[2], οι οποίες θα καταστήσουν μεγάλο αριθμό πολιτών τρίτων χωρών (που έως πρόσφατα μάλιστα χαρακτηρίζονταν σε υψηλά ποσοστά ως δικαιούχοι διεθνούς προστασίας), στερούμενους νομιμοποιητικών εγγράφων και υποκείμενους σε διαδικασίες απέλασης/επιστροφής ή/και επανεισδοχής στην Τουρκία, με βάση το Διμερές πρωτόκολλο[3] ή/και την Ευρωπαϊκή Συμφωνία Επανεισδοχής[4].

The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) in the context of its cooperation with the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) announces the release of the updated 2020 AIDA (Asylum Information Database) Report regarding the asylum procedure and reception in Greece.


The report that has been compiled annually since 2013 by GCR, documents and assesses legislative, policy and practice-related developments relating to the asylum procedure as well as statistics and information on the detention of asylum seekers and the reception conditions in Greece. The updated 2020 AIDA Country Report on Greece additionally covers issues related to the rights of beneficiaries of international protection and highlights concerns over identification and protection of vulnerable groups. The AIDA Country Report is an important tool for collecting data and identifying problems arising from asylum law and its practical application and is a point of reference, inter alia, for human rights monitors and national and international courts, on the assessment of the level of protection of refugees in Greece.

In an announcement on April 15, the Ministry of Migration and Asylum announced across-the-board cuts in financial assistance for all asylum seekers who are not housed in facilities run by the Ministry or its partner organisations as of July 1, 2021. This announcement was made without the issuance of any pertinent Ministerial Decision specifying the procedure.


According to the announcement: "Applicants in urban areas who do not have the necessary resources to meet their basic living needs should submit a request for housing to the competent authorities."


As the deadline approaches, our organisations point out that this decision has significant problematic aspects, both socially and legally.

Athens, 14 June 2021: With a new Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) issued on 7 June,[i] the Greek State designates Turkey as a “safe third country” for families, men, women and children of five nationalities[ii] seeking international protection in Greece. It is noted that the JMD applies even to those from countries with high recognition rates for international protection, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.[iii] This decision reinforces the policy established by the March 2016 EU-Turkey Statement that shifts the responsibility to protect refugees, including unaccompanied children,[iv] arriving in Europe to third countries.


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