GCR & Oxfam International & Save the Children International Bulletin - July 2022


This is the second issue of the Bimonthly Bulletin on Refugees and Migrants which is based on the joint work of the Greek Council for Refugees with Oxfam International and Save the Children International.

This joint Bulletin follows on GCR and Oxfam's Bulletin - Update on Lesbos and the Eastern Aegean Islands (see the last issue, here) and GCR and SCI's Advocacy Briefing on the rights of children in Greece (see the last issue, here).

The new briefing details how: 

  • Between 15 March and 17 June 2022, the European Court of Human Rights granted 14 interim measures in a series of cases of newcomers in the Evros region, ordering the Greek authorities to rescue them and provide them with food, water and adequate medical care. However, the decisions of the Court were respected in only three of the cases, all others were pushed back to Turkey.
  • Criminalization of refugees and those who support them continues as part of a broader policy of deterrence. Recent acquittals by the courts of Samos, Chios and Kalamata demonstrate the unlawful criminalization and the unjustified consequences of the concomitant pre-trial detention and restrictive measures on refugees’ personal and family life, as well as their access to asylum.
  • A series of media reports suggested that the government plans to target civil society organizations that provide assistance to newly arrived persons at the Evros region, raising questions as to whether this could be part of a policy of intimidation of people defending the rights of those seeking asylum.
  • Hampered access to the asylum procedure continues depriving refugees of their rights and exposing them to the risks of arrest and administrative detention.
  • The closure of ESTIA by the end of December 2022 and the subsequent transfer of vulnerable people to camps leaves them exposed to inadequate and unsafe accommodation.

The humanitarian organizations called for urgent action by the EU and Greece. This should include:

  • Swift disciplinary action and infringement proceedings by the EU Commission against the Greek state for its well-documented, long-term, and systematic breaches of international and EU law in its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, including pushbacks, obstruction of access to asylum and arbitrary detention.
  • Replacing the National Transparency Authority with an effective and truly independent monitoring mechanism led by the Greek Ombudsman, for the systematic investigation of reported pushback cases, in consultation with independent authorities and human rights advisory bodies, as well as intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
  • Refraining from misusing counter-smuggling legislation to criminalize refugees and humanitarian assistance.
  • Respecting the decisions on interim measures granted by the European Court of Human Rights on not removing newcomers asking for asylum from Greek territory, providing them with food, water, adequate medical care and transferring them immediately to reception centers.

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


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