Four years after the toxic EU-Turkey “deal” came into effect, the Eastern Aegean islands continue to experience its harmful consequences. Thousands of refugees and migrants continue to find themselves confined in horrible conditions in the five hotspots of Kos, Leros, Samos, Lesvos and Chios. At the same time, the government’s plans to establish closed facilities were faced with protests by the local communities in February 2020, clashes with riot police, as well as reported police violence. This was a novel event in the contemporary history of the islands.
Successive legislative reforms introduced over the past year have continued to have a significant adverse impact on the quality of asylum procedure and procedural safeguards and have rendered more asylum seekers detainable, for longer periods, and with less guarantees.
RSA regularly documents the impact of the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal on the rule of law and lives of asylum seekers and the local population. The organisation also represents cases of asylum-seekers confined on the islands before the Greek authorities, as well as before the European Court of Human Rights in cases of persons facing imminent risk of removal or dire living conditions.