Athens, 24 June 2022: Today, six Greek civil society organisations, members of the Informal Forced Returns Recording Mechanism established by the Greek National Commission for Human Rights in response to systematic push back allegations in the country, submitted a briefing to the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), covering systemic breaches of the rule of law and the EU acquis by Greek authorities. These stem mainly from the continuation of routine unlawful removal of people seeking international protection from the national territory, contempt of court orders and discrediting of European and international bodies responsible for monitoring and safeguarding human rights.

The briefing comes ahead of the hearing of the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum at the LIBE Committee on 27 June 2022. The Committee has made crucial, consistent efforts to ensure scrutiny of Greek push back practices and of and respect for the rule of law, fundamental rights and the EU acquis over the past two years, including through hearings, letters, and over a dozen targeted written questions tabled by Members across different parliamentary groups (EPP, S&D, Renew, Greens, Left).[1]

The briefing is signed by the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), the Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), HIAS Greece, HumanRights360, the Network for Children’s Rights (NCR), and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA).

[1]           Questions for written answer P-1972/2022; E-1951/2022; E-1639/2022; E-1519/2022; E-1438/2022; E-861/2022; E-259/2022; E-5571/2021; E2697/2021; E-1667/2021; E-4857/2020; E-4566/2020; E-4168/2020.

To read the briefing, press here

GCR’s Information Note

on interventions and on interim measures granted by the ECtHR in cases regarding pushbacks

Updated on the 19th of April 2023


          Since March 2022 the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) has represented 468 Syrian and 38 Turkish refugees, including many children, before the European Court of Human Rights, by filing 24 applications for interim measures (Rule 39), requesting to be granted humanitarian assistance and access to the asylum procedure.

The Court granted the requested interim measures for all cases and ordered the Greek government not to remove the refugees from the country’s territory and to provide them with food, water and proper medical care. The ECtHR also requested to be informed by the Greek government, amongst others, on whether the refugees have submitted an asylum application and whether they have access to the asylum procedure and to legal assistance.

Some of the refugees of these 24 groups have been formally arrested by the Greek authorities but most of them complain they have been pushed back to Turkey. It should be noted that the refugees, even from the groups that were formally arrested, complain that in the past they had been subjected to violent and informal return (pushback) to Turkey from Greece.

Furthermore, both with respect to those stranded on the islets and those in the Greek mainland, the refugees who complain that they have been pushed back to Turkey, also complain that they were informally arrested by the Greek authorities, informally detained in an unspecified detention facility in the Evros region, they were treated with violence, they were transferred to the Evros river bank from where they were forcibly put in boats and pushed back to Turkey.


Α group of 35 Syrian refugees, including 15 children remain stranded, on an islet in Evros river, without access to food, water and humanitarian aid, for a week now, despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights with 4 different Decision, the most recent as of 17/6/2022,  has granted interim measures and has ordered the Greek Authorities not to remove the applicants from Greece until further notice and to provide them with food, water and adequate medical care as needed (M.A. and Others v. Greece And 13 other cases; S. S. and Others v. Greece; F. R. and Others v. Greece; A. D. and Others v. Greece).

Up until today, one week after the Authorities have been initially informed about the presence of the group of refugees on the islet and five (5) days after the most recent Decision of the European Court of Human Rights, Greek Authorities have not proceeded to any rescue operation and have not complied with the Decisions of the Court, exposing the persons in an imminent risk as they remain stranded in a small islet at Evros river.

We urge the Greek State to comply with the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, to rescue the refugees and to proceed to all relevant procedures provided by law.

The European Parliament's European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), in a letter signed by its President Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar to the European Commission, expresses its concern about "the continuing reports of dozens of people seeking international protection pushed back from Greece to Turkey through the land border area of the Evros River". The letter points out that the European Court of Human Rights has issued more than 13 judgments in recent weeks "of interim measures and, hence, instructed the Greek authorities to ensure that the concerned persons have immediate humanitarian and medical assistance and that they will fall under the reception and identification procedures provided by the law". It stresses the fact that many of these people "were stranded for days, without being rescued by the Greek authorities, in very harsh conditions on small islets in the Evros River and several among them have reported being pushed back to Turkey later on, in contempt of court ruling". It points to the escalation of the situation with reports of loss of life, inhumane behaviour, denial of access to the asylum procedure and "refoulements at the EU’s external borders with the involvement of the Greek police authorities, in stark contravention of Articles 1, 2, 14, 18 and 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 6 of the Asylum Procedures Directive".


Το Ελληνικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγες κατά την ετήσια Γενική Συνέλευση της Πλατφόρμας για την Διεθνή Συνεργασία για τους Μετανάστες Χωρίς Χαρτιά  PICUM ( Η Γενική Συνέλευση έλαβε χώρα στις Βρυξέλλες στις 2 και 3 Ιουνίου 2022 και το ΕΣΠ εκπροσωπήθηκε από τον Λευτέρη Παπαγιαννάκη, Διευθυντή της Οργάνωσης.

Το PICUM έχει 164 μέλη από 31 χώρες, τα οποία συντονίζουν τις προσπάθειες τους ώστε να εξασφαλιστεί ο σεβασμός των δικαιωμάτων των ανθρώπων χωρίς χαρτιά.

Tuesday, 07 June 2022 14:36

PYXIDA Summer Camp 2022

We welcome you to the Summer Camp 2022 organized by the Greek Council for Refugees' Intercultural Center PYXIDA, with the support of the Greek America Foundation. See the program of activities here:

Since three days now, 52 Syrian refugees, amongst whom families with minors with multiple health problems are stranded on an islet in Evros river. Lawyers from the Greek Council of Refugees and HumanRights360 have immediately notified all the competent Greek Authorities that they should be rescued and that all the lawful procedures concerning reception, identification and asylum should be implemented. However, there was no response from the Authorities. On Wednesday 01.06.2022, the European Court of Human Rights issued an article 39 Decision on interim measures ordering the Greek Authorities to rescue the refugees and carry out all the expected procedure. It should be noted that amongst the people now present on the islet, another ECHR decision has been issued on 25.05.2022 despite which people were reported to have been pushed back to Turkey on 27th of May. Despite the fact that the Greek Authorities were notified also for this Decision, the people are still stranded on this islet in deploring conditions, without food and water and terrified. Every minute is crucial for their life and health and for the alarming development of the non-compliance of the Greek Authorities with Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

We urge the Greek State to comply with the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and rescue the refugees implementing all the lawful proceedings.

The Greek Council for Refugees publishes the annual updated AIDA (Asylum Information Database) report 2021 on the refugee situation in Greece, in the framework of its collaboration with ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles). The report tracks recent developments in the area of asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers and content of international protection in Greece, as of 31 December 2021, such as: 

The Asylum Service received 28,320 asylum applications in 2021 (marking a 30.71% decrease compared to 2020), mainly from applicants from Afghanistan!

The recognition rate on the merits at first instance was 60% as was the case in 2020. However, a significant number of applicants have not been provided with access to an in merits examination and their applications have been examined under the safe third country concept, following the issuance of the Joint Ministerial Decision designated Turkey as a safe third country for applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

Access to asylum on the mainland continued to be a serious matter of concern throughout 2021. 

An increasing number of allegations of pushbacks continued to be reported during 2021 and have been largely criticised inter alia by UNHCR, IOM, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Council of Europe Commissioner, the Greek Ombudsperson and civil society organisations. Several reports indicate that they have become a “standard practice”, including violent border practices, arbitrary detention and even deaths at borders.



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