Α joint letter to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, by 27 civil society organizations, regarding the use of the “safe third country” concept in Greece.

Read the letter here

Published: 6th March 2022

De facto detention, revenge tactics and despair for people in Samos closed refugee center 

New report from the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Oxfam sheds light on the inside of the new 43-million-euro migration center on the Greek island of Samos. The report comes ahead of the 6-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal, and in the midst of already more than a million people fleeing conflict in Ukraine to seek asylum in EU countries. If ever there was a time to learn from the failures made in Greece, it is now.

The report found: 

  • Approximately 1 in 5 people have been in de facto detention for two months. This is despite a Greek court finding this practice illegal in the ruling on a case of an Afghan resident in the Samos center last December. The Greek administration continues to deny this illegal practice. Yet, testimonies gathered by the Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam show this practice remains very much a reality. 
  • The use of “revenge tactics” in response to NGO reports, media coverage, and legal action by asylum seekers on illegal detention measures. This has included early morning raids, unexplained transfers to the police station, and oral eviction notices to residents appealing a negative asylum decision. 
  • The excessive use of security. There is constant CCTV monitoring of all residents and an 8pm curfew. To exit and enter the camp, residents need an “asylum applicant” card. Some people - like the newly arrived, those who can’t afford the second subsequent asylum application fee, or those waiting for the Greek authorities to examine their subsequent asylum application - do not have this card. In the future, not having these cards may keep people from getting food and clothes. 
Tuesday, 08 March 2022 14:44

GCR & Oxfam Bulletin_ March 2022

Update on Lesbos and the Aegean Islands, by the Greek Council for Refugees& Oxfam
In September 2021, the Greek government opened the first Closed Controlled Access Center (CCAC) on the island of Samos. In this new center, built with €43 million in EU funds, containers with beds and toilets replaced the makeshift tents of the old camp. Yet testimonies collected by the Greek Council for Refugees from people living in the new center and civil society organizations report prison like conditions. Approximately 100 people have not been able to leave the reception center for two months due to an exit ban that the Greek administrative court found amounts to illegal de facto detention. The Ministry of Asylum and Migration takes great pride in the 24/7 surveillance and security control mechanisms of the new center, while at the same time, the medical unit of the facility has no doctor. These hotspots were born from the EU Agenda on Migration of 2015 and the construction of the closed camps are 100% EU funded. EU actors must ensure that the violation of the right to liberty in these centres is not purposefully part of a policy of deterring people from entering Greece, or indeed the EU. Closed centers and human rights violations should not and are not a migration policy strategy. These camps make it impossible for “Europeans to trust that migration is managed in an effective and humane way, fully in line with our [EU] values”.
In December 2021, a GCR delegation visited the Samos CCAC and met with residents, the administration, and civil society organizations operating on the island which provide legal, medical and psychosocial aid to migrants.

Read the Bulletin here

Read here the Testimonies document : Testimonies 

Photos of the new centre in Samos: 

Διαβάστε το newsletter Ιανουαρίου - Μαρτίου 2022 του Ελληνικού Συμβουλίου για τους Πρόσφυγες εδώ

Imposition of a fee of 100 euros for access to asylum from the 2nd and every following subsequent application to applicants for international protection, including minors!

Following an official information we received as a Working Group on Legal Aid on the island of Lesvos, the Regional Asylum Office (RAO) of Lesvos after many months of refusal to register 2nd and following subsequent applications for international protection, on 7 February 2022 started to re-register the aforementioned applications of asylum seekers who have been unable to access the international protection procedure for the last 6 months without their own fault. However, this procedure restarts with a necessary condition for the submission of the second and subsequent application, the deposit of a fee of 100 euros per application (legislative regulation of par. 10 of article 89 of Law 4636/2019). In fact, based on JMD no. 472687/2021, if the application is submitted on behalf of several members of the applicant's family, the deposit of an equal amount for each member separately is required, including   minor children. This translates to the fact that for a five member’s family - two parents with three minor children - a fee of 500 euros is required!

On 28 February 2022, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), responding to an open call, sent its input on the forthcoming report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, in relation to the human rights violations at international borders.


You can read the comments here.

Last week, the Russian military invaded the Ukraine. Armed hostilities are ongoing. Russia has targeted multiple cities with attacks on residential areas. Children are being forced to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere. As in any armed conflict, their safety, access to food and water, medical care, and healthy development are at risk.   

These immediate risks may be compounded with the long-term traumas that these children may face as a result of displacement. Widespread fighting and humanitarian crisis may lead many families to seek safety outside of the Ukraine, including in Europe. This while many children are already facing inhumane conditions at Europe’s borders. 

GCR has implemented the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Protection Policy (PSEA) and has set in place a mechanism for managing and dealing with any case of inappropriate sexual behaviour and any act of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) or attempt of those acts by any GCR’s employee, volunteer, member of the Board, supplier or contractor against any GCR's beneficiary.
For more information, you can contact the specially appointed GCR’s focal points at the e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To report such an incident or related suspicion you can fill out our online form at the link: https://ee.humanitarianresponse.info/x/gkrneDUT, or send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Any relevant communication will be treated with complete confidentiality.

Thursday, 24 February 2022 13:09


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