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Reception crisis in Northern Greece: Three years of emergency solutions

With increased refugee arrivals during 2018[1] and transfers from overcrowded island hotspots being an imperative, there are permanently refugees in need of shelter in mainland Greece. The Greek government never managed to move on from an emergency reception approach to more mid- or even long-term solutions. The numbers of refugees in need of shelter exceed those anticipated by Greek authorities for a third year in row. As a result, refugee camps in the mainland became once more overcrowded while substandard reception conditions have a detrimental impact upon the physical and mental health of their residents.

Camps that have ceased to operate in 2017 because of conditions re-opened their gates in spring 2018. Tents are being set up in the camps and then dismantled depending on the needs and hotels are rented as short-term shelters during the winter without seemingly any plan for what comes next. Until today only three out of the 28 camps operating in the mainland have the required legal basis.

Different forms of accommodation fuel fights and rifts between residents and often protests break because of the poor conditions. Females in particular fear for their safety and those highly vulnerable such as victims of torture are away from necessary services. Meanwhile, recognized refugees asked to leave mainland camps following a decision by the Ministry of Migration Policy face the risk of homelessness and destitution.

The substandard conditions in Greece’s mainland camps coupled with tensions and the lack of prospects, underline further the need for a functioning reception system for recognized refugees and asylum-seekers with the objective of finding dignified long-term solutions that will allow also their integration in local societies.

Increased efforts of other EU states such as Germany to return asylum-seekers and recognized refugees to Greece under the Dublin III Regulation and via a new bilateral deal on returns ignore the systemic deficiencies in Greece’s reception system and their impact upon many vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers

At the end of August 2018 and in February and March 2019,[2] Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) researchers conducted interviews with individual refugees and families (28 cases) living in five refugee camps in Northern and Central Greece (Central Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly).[3] Those interviewed were living in the camps of Vaghiochori, Diavata, Nea Kavala, Koutsochero and Filippiada. This work is a follow-up to earlier research conducted by RSA on the reception conditions in mainland refugee camps in Attika region.[4]

Read details about each camp

Mainland refugee camps have been created in response to the reception crisis caused by the closure of the Balkan corridor in March 2016 and are situated all over Greece. At the peak of the crisis, there were 40 such “emergency reception sites”. Their original residents have either been relocated to another EU country, reunified with their family, remained in Greece or reached other EU countries by travelling irregularly. Those currently living in these camps are refugees and asylum-seekers transferred from the ‘hotspots’ or those arriving from the land borders with Turkey (Evros region) and Northern Macedonia.

At the end of January 2019, UNHCR estimated that the numbers of refugees and migrants in Greece had reached more than 72.000. Out of those, 58.000 were living in the mainland[5]. Meanwhile, the number of refugees residing in refugee camps in mainland Greece is increasing as well as the number of camps. In September 2018, around 16.500 were living in 26 refugee camps in the mainland[6] while in March 2019 there were 20.000 persons living in 28 camps.[7]

Three years after the implementation of the EU-Turkey ‘Deal’ and despite the reality of ongoing arrivals of refugees, the Greek government has not been able so far to create a functioning reception system. Short-term emergency solutions are being implemented until today. Any increase of arrivals is viewed as “unexpected”.

During 2018, a total of 50.500 refugees arrived in 2018 in Greece compared to 36.300 in 2017 and a massive increase was observed in the arrivals from the land border (285%).[8] According to UNHCR, in mid-April 2019 the total arrivals in Greece had reached more than 9.000 (sea arrivals: 5.900; land arrivals 3.400).[9]

In addition, the majority of refugee camps in the mainland still lack legal basis. From the 28 current open camps, only three are operating on the basis of Joint a Decision by the competent Ministries of Economy and Migration Policy. These camps are Schisto (September 2015)[10], Eleonas and Diavata (November 2016).[11] [12]

Consequently, there are no minimum standards applied in material conditions or services. The lack of legal framework also has the effect that most camps are operating without official site management but with Site Management Support (SMS). This task has been largely divided in Northern Greece among few major organisations (the International Organization for Migration, the Danish Refugee Council and the German NGO Arbeiter Samariter Bund).

Refugees and asylum-seekers interviewed for the purposes of this research gave us a bleak picture of their life in the camps of mainland Greece. Similar concerns were raised by refugees interviewed during field research conducted by RSA in camps of Northern Greece in 2016 and 2017[13] and by refugees interviewed in Attika camps in 2018.[14]

Those interviewed – many of them highly vulnerable – were either new arrivals from the land border or the Aegean islands or long-term residents in these camps. Some arrived in the camps on their own after arriving to Greece from the land border and others were officially transferred there from the islands.

Many described a feeling of ‘abandonment’. They spoke of overcrowding and unequal housing options resulting in tensions among the refugee population in the camps and frequent fights. They described how the remoteness of the camps and the decrease in services and gradual withdrawal of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs had worsened their situation. They reported increasing difficulties in accessing primary health care after the take-over of health care services in camps by the National Organization for Public Health (EODY). Protests linked to conditions have frequently taken place particularly in Diavata[15], Filippiada[16] and Koutsochero[17] camps.

Among the interviewees, there were 16 families with small children including three single mothers. Five of the females in these families were pregnant or had new born babies. All said that they suffered from high stress as a result of the poor living conditions and fear about their children’s health and safety. The ones transferred to the mainland camps from the Aegean islands’ ‘hotspots’ spoke of their multiple traumatic experiences in the ‘hotspots’ and the negative impact upon their mental health.

Ten of the interviewees were victims of torture. They spoke amongst others about the deterioration of their mental health while living in these camps. Sixteen of the interviewees had received international protection status. The continuing lack of integration measures and future prospects for beneficiaries of international protection resulted in a dead-end situation for these individuals. In February 2019, the announcement by the Ministry of Migration Policy that refugees granted asylum before July 2017 would have to leave the camps by the end of March 2019, created an atmosphere of panic and fear not only among refugees living in these camps but also among those awaiting for a decision on their asylum claim.

On the basis of the interviews conducted the following patterns were also identified: Those interviewees who had arrived in the mainland camps during 2017 and were not provided with a flat upon or shortly after their arrival, remain in the camps until today. With one exception, the vast majority have been granted asylum in Greece[18]. Those interviewees who arrived in the camps since 2018 were most likely to be transferred at least once to another mainland camp. Pregnant women who gave birth while being resident in the camp were then provided accommodation in flats whereas one family who had arrived with a new born remained in a camp.

Interviewees, who sought shelter in the mainland camps shortly after arriving from the land borders, were first placed in large tents, rub-halls, communal spaces or summer tents. They were staying informally in the camps and could not have access to a cash-card or being transferred to flats until they completed their registration with the camp authorities, the police and registered their asylum claim. They also tended to remain in camps for longer periods, as they had to wait to register with the police and submit their asylum claim.

“There are more people now, but the services are even less. People live in small tents, in the stone building. As new people arrived from the land borders they are placed wherever they fit. We tried to help them if we could. You cannot wait from this system to get help, you have to help each other.”

Ali H.* (44)[19] from Afghanistan, victim of torture, Diavata camp

“In the camp there are only army doctors. We still pay our medicines. Only sometimes aid organisations that visit give us something for free. If we need an interpreter for the hospital, we can ask the DRC to get one. But there is no Farsi speaking interpreter in the camp. Now, they want to kick us out, those who have asylum … us who never had the chance to learn the language and integrate, us who they put at the most remote places away from the cities.”

Qassim S.* (30)[20] from Afghanistan, Nea Kavala camp

The vast majority of mainland camps continue to be far away from the large cities of Athens and Thessaloniki where refugees can access additional social, medical and legal assistance as well as some integration possibilities such as free language lessons and access to labor.

The two government actors in these sites are the Reception and Identification Service (RIS)[21] and EODY. EODY (then KEELPNO) started officially providing services in the ‘hotspots’ on the Aegean islands in March 2017[22]. Consequently, NGOs began withdrawing. In the mainland, EODY became active in summer 2017 but provided very limited services. In the beginning of 2019, the agency was present in all mainland sites with the program “PHILOS I” and its multiple eextensions planned to last until June 2019. PHILOS II is scheduled to start this year whilst the lack of doctors remains a big challenge. Under the new programme, it is envisaged that EODY will provide broader services and deploy higher numbers of staff.

In addition to the two state agencies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)[23], the Danish Refugee Council (DRC)[24] and the German NGO Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB)[25] continue to have a central role in the Site Management Services (SMS) of refugee camps around mainland Greece. In the beginning of 2019, these actors had taken over social and legal services consisted by protection teams with different constellations and numbers of professionals (mainly lawyers and social workers) in each of the camps researched.[26]

Refugees interviewed spoke about a series of gaps in the provision of primary health care services by EODY including lack of specialised doctors (for women and children) and psychologists, not enough interpreters and army doctors being deployed where there were no EODY doctors. They also spoke about being left without interpreting when referred to hospitals. As a result, they could not communicate with health care professionals. Most of them spoke about the fear they experienced if they required emergency care because of the camp’s remoteness.

“When we arrived Greece we first went to Thessaloniki. Some people told us to go to Diavata camp and register there. The second day we were sent to the police station and registered there. We received a white paper[27] valid for 180 days. Back in Diavata they told us to go to Vaghiochori camp by ourselves. We slept two nights in a stone building in Diavata on the ground …”.

Baha R.* (40)[28] from Iran, Filippiada camp

Whereas there is a referral procedure in place for people who are transferred from the Aegean Islands to camps in mainland Greece, there is no formal procedure for individuals arriving from the land border.

Some interviewees, who found themselves homeless in Northern Greece either headed directly to a police stations in Thessaloniki to register, or to one of the camps that they were told would accept unregistered newcomers (i.e. Diavata, Vaghiochori or Lagadikia). UNHCR estimates that around 6.600 persons got arrested in Thessaloniki first time in the period August 2018 to March 2019. The number is similar to the ones arrested in Evros and released by the authorities there.[29] Other interviewees reported that they went directly to other camps such as Koutsochero, Nea Kavala, Filippiada or Katsikas and then stayed for a period of time in front of the sites or informally inside. They were then registered with the help of the responsible SMS (Site Management Service) first with the police (if necessary), and then with the Ministry of Migration Policy as residents of the site. Subsequently they submitted their asylum claim upon referral by RIS or SMS.

“There is no privilege for me as a recognized refugee compared to the asylum seekers living aside me. On the opposite, I am under constant threat to get kicked out because the camp is not for recognized refugees they say and also not the UN houses. The only work I found was informal work in the harvest where I got 12 Euro for 8-10 hours of work. I don’t see a future. … I can only give up. My days in the camp pass by without any change of my situation. All day, I sit on a chair in front of the isobox and in the night I try for hours to fall asleep. There are no lessons now, no measures to make a living, nothing.”

Behruz K.* (22)[30] from Afghanistan, Diavata camp

“We don’t know Greece. We want to live in a city, learn Greek, find friends and jobs. I don’t want to live with the help of the state but to stand on my own feet. But if they cut the help we have now, we would be forced to be homeless because we don’t have anywhere to go. This is why we don’t have children yet. I feel fear. I fear the future. … Now, they want to kick us out, us who have asylum out, us who we never had a chance to learn the language and integrate, us who they put at the most far place possible from the cities”.

Qassim S.* (30)[31] from Afghanistan, Nea Kavala camp

In early February, the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy announced the gradual termination of accommodation to beneficiaries of international protection living in refugee camps in mainland Greece. The first group of beneficiaries of international protection required to leave their accommodation were those recognized before the end of July 2017, and the deadline given for their exit was 31 March 2019.[32] Refugees facing eviction from camps and flats would receive cash-assistance for three months if they agreed to leave their accommodation immediately.

In the beginning of April 2019, RSA expressed concerns that such evictions would result in the affected group facing homelessness and destitution.[33].

At the end of February 2019, site-managing organisations started informing recognized refugees who spoke to RSA that they had to leave the camp they resided. In early March, they were called again and told to sign an informative letter that explained to them the situation. In the documented cases, the authorities did not adhere to the requirements of Greek legislation regarding the type of the administrative act issued, the prior-hearing of the person affected and the right to judicial protection. These persons described panic and fear that they would become homeless and of spending sleepless nights ever since the announcement.

Interviewees affected by the authorities’ eviction plans said that there were not sufficient and long-term language lessons in the camps that would enable them to learn Greek. They said that they had to travel to Thessaloniki to access language learning programs offered by NGOs, but not all of them had the financial means to do so. Attempts to find employment, resulted in them finding low-paid informal seasonal work in the harvest. Some reported that they had not been paid at all, others stated that they could not find employment because of the remote location of the camps they were living in. All of the interviewees had received assistance either by the SMS actors or NGOs present before (i.e. ARSIS) in getting a social insurance number (AMKA) and a tax registration number (AFM). However, they said they faced severe obstacles when they tried to submit a tax declaration. The interviewees had not been provided with information or did not have sufficient information about social benefits available in Greece and faced problems in accessing NGOs that could provide them with information about the requirements and application procedures for such benefits due to the remoteness of camps and transportation costs.

At the time of the publication of this research, the majority of the recognized refugees interviewed by RSA for the purposes of this report had escaped Greece after they learnt that they would soon become homeless and sought protection to other EU-countries. Only few remained in Greece. One of them is currently homeless and tries to collect all necessary documents that will allow him to apply for an unemployment card and KEA in order to secure his survival. Despite being homeless since the end of March, his Cash-Card got charged two weeks later and this exposed him to hunger and poverty. By the end of April, he was facing further obstacles as he was still lacking an official address. This made impossible for him to open a bank account and to get an unemployment card – all pre-requisites for applying for KEA.

“I don’t feel safe … I want to get out of this camp. To go somewhere that is safer. I am telling myself every day I am strong, but at night before I sleep everything bad comes back in my mind.”

Ibrahim H.* (43)[34] Kurdish refugee from Syria, Vaghiochori camp

“We were always escaping fights in Moria, then we were escaping the fights in Thermopiles and now in Diavata. My mental health got worse…I get angry very fast. I cannot control my mind anymore. … I feel like a broken person. Like I crashed on a wall. I feel lost. My family is like a body torn in pieces. I lost half of them in Syria.”

Jamal S.* (49)[35] from Syria, Diavata camp

Greek legislation on reception and identification procedures regarding new arrivals includes victims of torture as one of the categories of vulnerable groups (Article 14(8) of Law 4375/2016).

In May 2018, a new provision was adopted (Article 23 of Law 4540/2018) stipulating that persons subjected to torture, rape or other serious acts of violence, have to be certified by medical certificates issued by a public hospital or by an adequately trained doctor of a public sector health care service provider and should receive the needed therapy or care.[36]

Human rights actors in the field have expressed their concerns on whether the Greek state was ready to take over the certification procedure at once, and without any assistance. This transition came at a time where the public health system was already severely burdened by austerity cuts and resulting staff shortages. In addition, there is a limited number of interpreters in public hospitals as well as specialized personnel that could conduct such certification. At the same time, the merely medical approach to the certification of a torture victim is not compatible with the provisions of the Istanbul Protocol that states that a multidisciplinary approach is required and that the examining team should be including a social worker, a doctor, a psychologist and a lawyer.[37] Additionally, hospital staff is not yet adequately trained to work in a trauma-sensitive manner, with an intercultural approach, and to recognize victims of torture and other forms of violence.

There are no comprehensive official statistics[38] available on victims of torture (VoT) in Greece. Services for the certification and rehabilitation of VoT are provided by few NGOs limited in Athens[39] and only since November 2018 also in Thessaloniki[40]. There are also no specialized shelters.

RSA interviewed several victims of torture who had applied for asylum or are recognized refugees. They spoke evocatively on how their mental health had been affected even further due to the conditions they experienced in the camps. For those still awaiting their asylum interview, the lack of documentation of their vulnerability is likely to create disadvantages for their legal procedure. More than that, the lack of proof of their vulnerability obscures access to adequate housing in the flats of ESTIA programme (aimed to support vulnerable persons). Finally, remaining for longer periods in remote camps in the mainland means that they find it very difficult to reach organizations providing specialized assistance for their medical and psychological care.

Read details about each camp

Footnotes

  1. Source: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean/location/5179 (last visited: 08.05.2019)
  2. In seven cases the families / individuals had arrived from the land borders to Greece and in 21 from the Aegean islands.  RSA researchers interviewed 12 Syrians, 11 Afghans, 2 Iranians, 2 Congolese and one refugee from Iraq.
  3. Interviews were taken on 25-30 August 2018 in Thessaloniki and in front of the camps of Vaghiochori, Diavata, Nea Kavala, Koutsochero and Filippiada. RSA had conducted field-trips to the camps of the region also in April and September 2017. The people interviewed were contacted again by telephone in 1-3 March 2019 for an update on their situation. Two of the interviewees could not be contacted again. In seven cases the interviewees had left Greece after August 2018 as soon as they had got their travel documents or after being informed that they would have to leave the camps by end of March 2019.
  4. In the spring of 2018, RSA spoke with refugees residing in four camps in the regions of Attica and Voiotia. See: Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) 13.08.2018:Reception Crisis in Greece: The Malignancy of Atticas’ Refugee Camps. Source:  https://rsaegean.org/en/reception-crisis-in-greece/#_edn64 (last visited: 3 March 2019)In 2016 RSA conducted research on the situation of vulnerable refugees in the camps of Attica. See: RSPA / PRO ASYL 2016: Vulnerable Lives on Hold. Refugees are hardly surviving the mass camps in the Athens Region. Source: https://www.proasyl.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2016-05-24-Vulnerable-lives-on-Hold-final.pdf (last visited: 3 March 2019)
  5. Source: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/68057 (last visited: 3 March 2019)
  6. Source: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/66038 (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  7. 25,000 stayed in apartments or buildings by UNHCR, 11.500 lived in the five Aegean Island hotspots, around 6,000 were hosted by an emergency shelter program of IOM mainly in hotels, 2,000 were hosted in flats rented by a program of Ministry of Migration, 2,000 minors stayed in facilities of the Ministry of Social Solidarity. Sources:http://www.immigration.gov.gr/article-details/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_qAPKlk32D3aH/20182/61311?back=press-release (last visited: 8 April 2019);http://www.immigration.gov.gr/documents/20182/31265/Fotografiko_leukoma_prosfyges_engl.pdf/cac1526e-ca6a-4863-818e-4e0aed574276 (last visited: 8 April 2019);Statistics for 28 February 2019. http://mindigital.gr/index.php/προσφυγικό-ζήτημα-refugee-crisis/3640-national-situational-picture-regarding-the-islands-at-eastern-aegean-sea-28-02-2019 (last visited 8 April 2019);See also statement by Minister Vitsas at the end of March 2019: http://www.immigration.gov.gr/article-details/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_qAPKlk32D3aH/20182/61311?back=press-releases (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  8. Source: http://www.immigration.gov.gr/article-details/-/journal_content/56_INSTANCE_qAPKlk32D3aH/20182/58949?back=press-release (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  9. Source: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean/location/5179 (last visited: 23 April 2019)
  10. Joint Ministerial Decision 3/5262, “Establishment of the Open Facility for the hospitality of asylum seekers and persons belonging to vulnerable groups in Eleonas Attica Region”, 18 September 2015, Gov. Official Gazette B2065/18.09.2015 and Joint Ministerial Decision 3.2/6008 “Establishment of the Open Facility for the temporary reception of applicant of international protection”, 18 September 2015, Gov. Official Gazette B’ 1940/6.06.2017.Source: https://www.firstreception.gov.gr/PRImages/EditorImages/Ευρετήριο%20Νομοθεσίας%20ΥΠΥΤ_Ιούνιος%202018.pdf (last visited 8 April 2019);https://www.firstreception.gov.gr/PRImages/EditorImages/Ευρετήριο%20Νομοθεσίας%20ΥΠΥΤ_Ιούνιος%202018.pdf (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  11.  Joint Ministerial Decision 3/14762, “Establishment of Open Facilities for the Temporary Hospitality of applicant for international protection”, Gov. Gazette Β’ 3720/16.11.2016.Source: https://www.firstreception.gov.gr/PRImages/EditorImages/Ευρετήριο%20Νομοθεσίας%20ΥΠΥΤ_Ιούνιος%202018.pdfhttps://www.firstreception.gov.gr/PRImages/EditorImages/Ευρετήριο%20Νομοθεσίας%20ΥΠΥΤ_Ιούνιος%202018.pdf (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  12. Greek term: Δομές Προσωρινής Υποδοχής Αιτούντων Διεθνή Προστασία. See: Article 10(3) L 4375/2016. According to the same Law, the government also has the option to open temporary accommodation facilities (Δομές Προσωρινής Φιλοξενίας) for persons subject to return procedures or whose return has been suspended (see: Article 10(4) L 4375/2016).
  13. Annual internal reports of RSA about the living conditions in the camps of Northern Greece (unpublished)
  14. Source: https://rsaegean.org/en/reception-crisis-in-greece/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  15. 17.8.2017:http://www.patrisnews.com/kathistiki-diamartyria-prosfygon-ke-metanaston-se-kentro-filoxenias-sta-diavata/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)23./24.5.2018: http://www.ekathimerini.com/228954/article/ekathimerini/news/migrants-protest-conditions-at-diavata-facility (last visited: 8 April 2019);https://www.thenationalherald.com/202117/migrants-block-northern-greek-highway-in-2nd-day-of-protests/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)5. July 2018:https://www.briefingnews.gr/ellada/diamartyria-prosfygon-sto-kentro-filoxenias-ton-diavatonhttps://thesstoday.gr/%CE%B5%CF%80%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%83%CF%8C%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CE%BC%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%B1%CE%BE%CF%8D-%CF%80%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%83%CF%86%CF%8D%CE%B3%CF%89%CE%BD-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B7-%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%AE-%CF%86/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)3.10.2018:https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/826433/diamarturia-prosfugon-exo-apo-to-kedro-filoxenias-sta-diavata/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)11.12.2018: https://www.iefimerida.gr/news/464699/diamartyria-prosfygon-sto-kentro-filoxenias-sta-diavata (last visited: 8 April 2019)7. January 2019: http://www.ekathimerini.com/236304/article/ekathimerini/news/refugees-protest-winter-living-conditions-in-greek-camp (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  16. 1. September 2016: https://www.karfitsa.gr/poreia-prosfygon-sti-filippiada-foto/ (last visited 8 April 2019)20. September 2016: http://www.preveza-info.gr/mobile_node.php?id=26338 (last visited 8 April 2019);27. October 2016: https://www.zougla.gr/greece/article/eftasan-70-prosfiges-sti-filipiada-ke-arni8ikan-na-minoun-se-skines (last visited: 8 April 2019);
  17. 12. April 2016: https://hellasjournal.com/2016/04/arnounte-na-minoun-sto-kentro-filoxenias-koutsocherou-prosfiges-ke-metanastes/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)9. April 2016:https://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1091891/sunexizetai-i-diamarturia-prosfugon-stin-ethniki-odo-larisas-trikalon (last visited: 8 April 2019)10. April 2017: http://www.trikalaidees.gr/%CE%BD%CE%AD%CE%B1-%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BC%CE%B1%CF%81%CF%84%CF%85%CF%81%CE%AF%CE%B1-%CE%B1%CF%80%CF%8C-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%82-%CF%80%CF%81%CF%8C%CF%83%CF%86%CF%85%CE%B3%CE%B5%CF%82-%CF%80%CE%BF/ (last visited: 8 April 2019);1. November 2017: https://www.newsbomb.gr/ellada/news/story/833761/sygkentrosi-diamartyrias-prosfygon-stin-ethniki-odo-larisas-trikalon (last visited: 8 April 2019);18. June 2018: http://tinealarissa.gr/index.php/2018/06/18/diamartyria-prosfygon-sto-koytsochero-ekleisan-tin-ethniki-odo/ (last visited: 8 April 2019);4. / 9. July 2018: http://patrastimes.gr/%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B1/%CF%80%CF%81%CF%8C%CF%83%CF%86%CF%85%CE%B3%CE%B5%CF%82-%CE%AD%CE%BA%CE%BB%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%B1%CE%BD-%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B4%CF%81%CF%8C%CE%BC%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC%CE%BB%CF%89%CE%BD/ (last visited: 8 April 2019);http://www.ert.gr/perifereiakoi-stathmoi/larisa/nea-diamartyria-prosfygon-sto-koytsochero-ekleisan-ton-dromo/ (last visited: 8 April 2019);24. October 2018: https://www.oichalianews.gr/larisa/prosphuges-ekleisan-dromo-sto-koutsokhero.html (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  18. In one case a person’s asylum claim was rejected and he awaits the appeal decision.
  19. Interviewed on 27th August infront of Diavata site and on 1st March 2019 by telephone.
  20. Interviewed on 25th August in Polikastro and on 1st March 2019 by telephone.
  21. The Reception and Identification Service is an independent agency under the Deputy Ministry of Migration Policy General Secretariat of Reception. The mission of the Reception and Identification Service is the effective management of third country nationals who cross the Greek borders without legal documents and/or procedures, under conditions that respect their dignity, by placing them in first reception procedures. RIS has been created by Law 3907/2011. Its organization and operation is according to the Presidential Decree No. 102/2012. See also: Joint Ministerial Decision No 2969/2015 (Gov. Gazette 2602/Β/2-12-2015) and Law 4375/2016 (Gov. Gazette 51/A/3-4-2016).Sources:  (last visited 8 April 2019);https://www.firstreception.gov.gr/index.php?lang=en (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  22. EODY is active in 28 camps in the frame of the operation „PHILOS I“, which is funded by the EU (AMIF Fund) since 28.3.2017. While funding was initially secured just until end of August 2018, the program got extended until October of the same year. Within PHILOS, they employed in this period: 5 epidemiologists, 1 general doctor, 1 pathologist, 7 paediatricians, 6 persons for general tasks, 38 midwives, 13 cultural mediators, 30 dental doctors and 1 coordinator.On 27th September 2018 a new tender for “PHILOS II” was published calling for a total of 1.576 job applications for a period of 18 months for the six First Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) and 28 camps in the mainland. The 655 announced vacancies include: General co-ordinators 7; Co-ordinators of hygiene services 7; field co-ordinators 46; general doctors 65; paediatricians 25; dental doctors 5; nurses or assistant nurses 88; midwives 56; psychologists 15; health supervisors 46; social workers 55; rescuers/ ambulance staff 36; intercultural mediators 127; The program envisages a medical team and a psycho-social team in each site. The medical teams are tasked the provision of primary health care, emergency health care, identification of vulnerable groups, referrals to secondary medical care and to the psycho-social team. The psycho-social team is tasked with an intake screening for mental health issues, referrals, and if needed evaluation, diagnosis, therapy and control, crisis management, suicide prevention program, transfer of people with mental health issues who cannot stay in the camp, evaluation of mental health for vulnerability assessment in the RICs, supervision of employees providing for psycho-social services.Specifically, the vacancies announced for camps around mainland Greece and concern the camps of the current research are:3rd YPE: Alexandreia, Aghia Varvara, Diavata, Kato Milias, Kalochori, Sindos, Giannitsa: 1 general co-ordinator, 1 hygiene co-ordinator, 8 field co-ordinators, 9 doctors, 3 paediatricians, 1 psychologists, 1 dental doctors, 12 nurses, 9 midwives, 10 psychologists, 7 social workers, 18 interpreters, 4 rescuers, 8 health supervisors4th YPE: Lagadikia, Loutra, Volvi, Nea Kavala, Vaghiochori, Serres, Drama, Kavala, RIC Evros: 1 general co-ordinator, 1 hygiene co-ordinator, 9 field co-ordinators, 9 doctors, 5 paediatricians, 2 psychologists, 1 dental doctors, 14 nurses, 10 midwives, 13 psychologists, 10 social workers, 20 interpreters, 6 rescuers, 9 health supervisors5th YPE: Oinofyta, Ritsona, Thiva, Koutsochero, Thermopyles, Volos, Kipselochori, Trikala: 1 general co-ordinator, 1 hygiene co-ordinator, 10 field co-ordinators, 12 doctors, 4 paediatricians, 4 psychologists, 0 dental doctors, 14 nurses, 10 midwives, 11 psychologists, 9 social workers, 21 interpreters, 8 rescuers, 10 health supervisors.6th YPE: Andravida, Filippiada, Doliana, Aghia Eleni, Katsikas: 1 general co-ordinator, 1 hygiene co-ordinator, 6 field co-ordinators, 5 doctors, 2 paediatricians, 1 psychologists, 0 dental doctors, 7 nurses, 6 midwives, 6 psychologists, 5 social workers, 8 interpreters, 6 rescuers, 6 health supervisorsSource: https://philosgreece.eu/el/news/call-for-tenders/anakoinosi-apotelesmaton-28-3-2017 (last visited: 8 April 2019);Source: https://keelpno.gr/Portals/0/Αρχεία/Προκηρύξεις/2018_2/ΩΛΤΞ469ΗΜΛ-70Α.pdf (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  23. IOM is providing for site management services, protection as well as translation, non-formal education and capacity building in the sites in mainland Greece. It also involves in 10 safe zones, which are managed in co-operation with ARSIS and the Greek Council of Refugees. Source: https://greece.iom.int/el/improving-greek-reception-system-through-site-management-support-and-targeted-interventions-long (last visited: 23 April 2019)
  24. DRC is tasked with site managing activities, protection monitoring and individual legal aid. The latter consists of legal info sessions, individual legal counselling and individual legal representation. A special emphasis is given to vulnerable refugees. Furthermore, DRC involves with non-formal educational activities in the sites.Sources: https://drc.ngo/media/5240212/about-the-iom-greece-project.pdf (last visited: 19 April 2019);https://drc.ngo/where-we-work/europe/greece (last visited: 19 April 2019)
  25. ASB provided such assistance in partnership with ARSIS until the end of 2018. The legal assistance provided focused mainly on advice and not on representation before asylum bodies. Since 2019, the organization built its own protection team. The ASB within its current program is tasked with: SMS activities, ensuring protection and support of vulnerable groups and offering non-formal education opportunities.Source: http://asb.gr/asb-signs-agreement-with-iom/ (last visited: 10 March 2019)
  26. Vaghiochori is an exceptional case, as IOM was not providing for legal aid there as of the end of August 2018.
  27. The term White paper here refers to a police note, issued upon first arrest for irregular entry in Greece.
  28. Interviewed on 30th August near Filippiada site and on 2nd March 2019 by telephone..
  29. Source: UNHCR.
  30. Interviewed on 28th August in front of Diavata camp.
  31. Interviewed on 25th August in Polykastro and on 1st March 2019 by telephone.
  32. Letter, dated 11 February 2019. Some vulnerable groups such as women in the advanced stages of pregnancy will be temporarily exempted. Those refugees leaving their camp accommodation on the scheduled date would continue to be provided with cash assistance for an additional period of three months.
  33. Source: https://rsaegean.org/en/evictions-of-recognized-refugees-from-accommodation-will-lead-to-homelessness-and-destitution/ (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  34. Interviewed on 26th August 2018 in front of Vaghiochori camp.
  35. Interviewed on 27th and 28th August infront of Diavata site and on 3rd March 2019 by telephone.
  36. Source: http://www.immigration.gr/2018/05/blog-post_72.html (last visited: 8 April 2019)
  37. Source: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/training8Rev1en.pdf (last visited: 8 May 2019)
  38. During 2019, the Greek Asylum Service registered the claims of 358 “victims of torture, rape or other serious forms of violence or exploitation and there were 380 pending cases. It also granted international protection status to 177 persons belonging to these vulnerable groups.
  39. METADRASI conducts the identification and certification of torture victims. There is also the Prometheus program for the rehabilitation of torture survivors implemented by the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and the Babel Day Centre/Syn-eirmos in co-operation with the Medecins Sans Frontieres since 2014.Sources: https://metadrasi.org/en/campaigns/certification-of-torture-victims/ (last visited: 08.05.2019);https://babeldc.gr/προμηθέας-ιι-ενισχύοντας-την-αποκατ/ (last visited: 08.05.2019);https://babeldc.gr/προμηθέας-ι-ταυτοποίηση-και-αποκατά/ (last visited: 08.05.2019)
  40. Source: http://www.arsis.gr/upiresies-psychokoinwnikis-nomikis-upostiriksis-se-prosfyges/ (last visited: 08.05.2019).

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