The way in which the Ministry of Migration handled last month’s case concerning the Syrian people who were left stranded for days in Evros, while sparking a general public outcry, cannot but cause concern and call for reflection.
Today’s judgment from the ECtHR comes eight years following the tragic incident. It vindicates the victims by awarding compensation from the Greek State and brings to light an issue systematically concealed in public discourse: push backs and systematic deterrence practices which put lives at risk on a daily basis in Evros and the Aegean.
Farhad*, a 31-year-old recognised refugee, was returned from Germany to Greece at the beginning of July 2021 after spending more than five years in Germany waiting for his asylum claim to be processed.
Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) and PRO ASYL call upon the European Commission to immediately launch infringement proceedings against Greece regarding systemic violations of international and EU law, stemming from the arbitrary rejection of asylum applications based on the “safe third country” concept and from the prevention of refugees’ access to asylum procedures.
Almost two months after the deadly shipwrecks in Paros, Folegandros and Antikythera, the bodies of missing refugees and migrants are still found scattered all over the Aegean. The survivors – relatives and companions of these people who were anxiously searching for clues about their fate, instead of receiving the necessary psychosocial care under decent accommodation conditions, were taken to the Pre-removal Detention Centre (PROKEKA) in Amygdaleza where they remained in administrative detention for more than a month. The recent shipwrecks have once again highlighted the huge shortcomings in the information, support and care of survivors, in the coordination for the management of shipwreck victims such as the protocol for the search and identification of the missing and dead respectively and the referral to an appropriate accommodation facility.
Two years after the violent crackdown on citizens in Chios and Lesvos who oppose the transformation of the islands into prisons for refugees and migrants, dissatisfaction with the refugee response is growing.
Michalis Psimitis, Professor of Sociology at the University of the Aegean and Coordinator of the Anti-Racist Observatory of the University of the Aegean, explains the goals served by the escalation of control and surveillance regimes for refugees
An expert opinion by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) released today finds the Greek legal framework on the registration of NGOs working with refugees and migrants (Joint Ministerial Decision 10616/2020) “in clear violation” of standards of international law, EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The undersigned non-governmental organisations were surprised to be informed that the Ministry of Migration and Asylum denied the registration of non-profit civil society organisation “Refugee Support Aegean” (RSA) on its NGO Registry, despite a positive opinion from competent services. We are particularly concerned by the substantive ground for such rejection, citing that the “development of activity” “in support of persons under deportation” is contrary to Greek legislation.
Greek authorities unlawfully pushed a group including Syrian refugee back to Turkey through the Evros land border, while a procedure for interim measures was pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
One year after the historic conviction of Golden Dawn, the Racist Violence Recording Network calls to mind the importance of the judicial decision that sent a clear message against the criminal organization and organized racist violence. In parallel, the Network warns that there is no room for complacency, as the modus operandi of organized violence continues to severely affect social cohesion.
Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) filed judicial review applications before the Greek Council of State for the annulment of the Joint Ministerial Decision of the Minister of Migration and Asylum and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of 7 June 2021. The Decision designated Turkey as a safe third country for nationals of Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
While the Greek government is sending contradictory messages about dealing with the humanitarian crisis caused by the return of the Taliban to power, thousands of Afghan refugees living in Greece are anxious for the fate of their relatives and themselves, as based on the Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) issued in June they may be returned to Turkey as a safe third country with a risk of onward deportation to Afghanistan.
Three asylum seekers represented by Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) have lodged complaints with the European Commission relating to infringement of EU law stemming from Greece’s failure to correctly transpose and implement the Asylum Procedures Directive (2013/32/EU) and the Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU).
our organisations stress that “externalization simply shifts asylum responsibilities elsewhere and evades international obligations”. We once again call on the Greek and European authorities to honour their responsibility to protect refugees and to avoid further undermining the European asylum acquis and the fundamental principles and values for protecting human rights. To this end, we call on Greece to revoke the JMD issued on 7 June.
Risks of repression of civil society organisations supporting refugees and migrants in Greece have been heavily exacerbated by successive legislative reforms in 2020, introducing disproportionate and ambiguous requirements for registration on two Registries managed by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
Three illustrative stories of refugees who experienced the tragic consequences of the implementation of the “deal” at any cost remind us that human rights are trampled every day in the Reception and Identification Centres of the Aegean islands.
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