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 (https://picum.org/). 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.

 

26/5/2022

HumanRights360 and the Greek Council for Refugees representing 94 refugees from Syria, who are stranded on an islet in Evros, submitted on Wednesday 24.05.2022 to the European Court of Human Rights an urgent request for interim measures to ensure that the people have immediate humanitarian and medical assistance and that they will fall under the reception and identification procedures provided by law.

Just a few hours later, the ECHR granted the interim measures, ordering the Greek government not to remove the 94 refugees from the Greek territory, and to offer them access to food, water and adequate medical treatment. With the same ruling, the ECHR is also asking the Greek government to provide to the Court official information on the whereabouts of the refugees, on whether the refugees have been able to submit an asylum application and if they indeed submitted one, and on whether they received legal assistance throughout this process.

Friday, 13 May 2022 15:02

PRAB: Policy Note IV

When there’s a will, there’s a way to protection

Read the PRAB: Policy Note IV

2021

Διαβάστε εδώ την Ετήσια Αναφορά του έτους 2021

The Greek government is operating “a two-tier refugee response” - one for Ukrainians and one for all other refugees according to a new briefing by the Greek Council for Refugees, Oxfam and Save the Children.

The briefing details how, in the last two months, people fleeing Ukraine who are seeking protection in Greece were given swift access to protection, health care and the labour market. The Greek government has also started providing accommodation and support to buy food, the organisations said.

In the same period, there were multiple incidents of violent “pushbacks” of asylum seekers from elsewhere - including cases of children and pregnant women who were detained and transferred by boat to islets in a river at the border. In mid-March, asylum seekers reported that a 4-year-old Syrian child tragically drowned after falling from a boat in one of these operations.

The Greek government has also set up an easy-to-use online registration process for Ukrainians seeking protection. In contrast, the registration of asylum applications in mainland Greece is almost completely dysfunctional and inaccessible for other nationalities, and Ukrainians who had arrived in Greece prior to 26 November, the report says.

The report details other instances of discrimination and differential treatment, with Ukrainians called “real refugees” and other people seeking protection labelled “illegal immigrants” by government officials. There were also reports that Afghan refugees in camps in Serres Camp in northern Greece are being forced to leave the containers in which they have been staying and move to a dilapidated part of the camp, to make space for newly arrived Ukrainians.

The research in Greece was conducted by the Greek Council for Refugees, supported by Save the Children and Oxfam. The findings and recommendations in Greece could be relevant to other European countries that are hosting people who have fled Ukraine as well as refugees from other countries.

The Greek government is operating “a two-tier refugee response” - one for Ukrainians and one for all other refugees according to a new briefing by the Greek Council for Refugees, Oxfam and Save the Children.  

The briefing details how, in the last two months, people fleeing Ukraine who are seeking protection in Greece were given swift access to protection, health care and the labour market. The Greek government has also started providing accommodation and support to buy food, the organisations said.  

In the same period, there were multiple incidents of violent “pushbacks” of asylum seekers from elsewhere - including cases of children and pregnant women who were detained and transferred by boat to islets in a river at the border. In mid-March, asylum seekers reported that a 4-year-old Syrian child tragically drowned after falling from a boat in one of these operations. 

The Greek government has also set up an easy-to-use online registration process for Ukrainians seeking protection. In contrast, the registration of asylum applications in mainland Greece is almost completely dysfunctional and inaccessible for other nationalities, and Ukrainians who had arrived in Greece prior to 26 November, the report says.  

The report details other instances of discrimination and differential treatment, with Ukrainians called “real refugees” and other people seeking protection labelled “illegal immigrants” by government officials. There were also reports that Afghan refugees in camps in Serres Camp in northern Greece are being forced to leave the containers in which they have been staying and move to a dilapidated part of the camp, to make space for newly arrived Ukrainians. 

The research in Greece was conducted by the Greek Council for Refugees, supported by Save the Children and Oxfam. The findings and recommendations in Greece could be relevant to other European countries that are hosting people who have fled Ukraine as well as refugees from other countries. 

Read the joint briefing from Greek Council for Refugees, Oxfam and Save the Children here

 

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