Who we are

The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) is a Non- Governmental Organization, which has been active since 1989 in the field of asylum and human rights in Greece. It was founded by Hari Brissimi* and 20 more people aiming to defend the rights of refugees in Greece.

GCR is an association recognized as a special charity, is included in the Registers of competent Ministries, has Consultative Status in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN since 2001 and is an operative partner of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In addition to the above, GCR is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) since 1991, a member of the Separated Children in Europe Program (SCEP) while it also participates in the National Committee for Human Rights (EEDA) since 1999.

In 2005 GCR was offered an award by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, as a “Quality Islet of Collective Action” for its contribution in the creation of volunteer and innovative, quality social work in our country.

On a daily basis, GCR welcomes and offers free legal and social advice and services to refugees and people coming from third countries who are entitled to international protection in our country, while special emphasis is put on vulnerable cases, such as unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking etc. The ultimate goal is their protection and their smooth integration in our country.

GCR’s services are offered in Athens, Thessaloniki and in the region of Evros but also in Lesvos, Kos and Herakleion - Crete. The main sources of GCR stem from European and co-financed Programs, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, by grant making trusts as well as companies and individuals. 


*Hari Brissimi was the first woman in charge of an international organization as she was the Director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. She has been honored with the Silver Medal by the Academy of Athens for her “multidimensional social activity” as well as by the Greek League for Women’s Rights with the award of the “Prize of Female Social Contribution ALIKI GIOTOPOULOU-MARAGOPOULOU” for her contribution in the field of refugee protection and care.



The Greek Council for refugees holistic approach

As part of our ''open door policy'', an efficient team of interpreters, who act as intercultural mediators, documents, assesses the needs and refers the refugees who arrive in our offices daily to other GCR services or authorities and organizations.
From the right to asylum and protection from detention, to demanding decent living conditions for all beneficiaries of international protection, especially vulnerable cases (victims of torture, victims of gender-based violence, minors etc.) and caring for the rights of recognized refugees, GCR's services are on the front line of human and refugee rights defense, while informing and educating the public.
A team of more than 70 lawyers provides a wide range of legal services to refugees and asylum seekers: from protection against detention and deportation, to access to the authorities, representation during the asylum procedure and support before Greek and international administrative and judicial authorities, while intervening with institutional and international bodies.
GCR, with years of experience in supporting beneficiaries of international protection, taking into account all their material and psychological needs (food, housing, medical/psychiatric needs, legal assistance etc.) and caring especially for vulnerable cases, provides well-rounded and complete relief to every person in need of protection, through both its targeted and multidisciplinary projects.
The wide spectrum of services offered by GCR's social workers includes, among other things, assistance in family and medical emergencies, management of vulnerable cases, access to food and housing, referrals to state services and organizations, as well as work counseling and job referrals.
GCR supports recognized refugees in taking the first steps to a positive future through activities, courses, workshops, and guidance in finding a job. It is part of GCR’s holistic approach to help its beneficiaries to adjust to their new life.
GCR's intercultural center PYXIDA hosts a number of cultural and educational activities which are addressed to recognized refugees, such as free Greek and English lessons, educational counseling and learning support, workshops for children and adults etc. PYXIDA's primary goal is the facilitation of refugee integration into the society in which they live, to fight against isolation and social exclusion.


"Board of Directors"

After the meeting of the members of the Board of Directors that took place on 7/6/2023, the composition of the new Board of Directors is the following: 


Management and Coordination Team

Maria Papamina - Legal Unit Coordinator

Vasiliki Katrivanou - Social Unit Coordinato

GCR is registered:

  • At the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: 
    1. In the National Registry of Private Sector Non-Profit Institutions since 2002 with serial number 0209
    2. In the Special Registry of Voluntary Non-Governmental Organizations since 2002 under serial number 0179
    3. At the National Centre of National Solidarity (EKKA) since 20/01/2015 as a certified provider of primary social care
      (this special certification was renewed in November 2023).
  • At the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum:
    1. In the National Registry of Greek and Foreign NGOs with number 170830191745 since August 2017
    2. In the National Registry of Greek and Foreign NGOs 240/2-4-2021 since April 2021
  • At the Ministry of Culture: 
    1. Recognition of GCR as a Legal Entity pursuing cultural objectives since March 2007 (Government Gazette-FEK 16/A/26.1.2007).
  • At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 
    1. Certificate of registration in the Registry of NGOs number 128 from September 2001

GCR maintains and undertakes to comply with: Code of Conduct as well as Internal Regulations and Policies on :

  1. Child Protection,
  2. Against Bullying and Harassment,
  3. Anti-corruption and Anti-Bribery,
  4. Grievances Policy,
  5. Whistleblowing Policy,
  6. Safeguarding Policy,
  7. Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Protection Policy,
  8. Personal Data Protection Policy




Our Efficiency

  • 90% Program Services
  • 10% Management