Καμπάνια για την πρόσβαση στο άσυλο: Ξανά το Άσυλο και η Μετανάστευση  στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη – Μια θεσμική οπισθοδρόμηση

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ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ

Αθήνα, 18 Ιουλίου 2019

Ξανά το Άσυλο και η Μετανάστευση  στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη – Μια θεσμική οπισθοδρόμηση

Οι  οργανώσεις που υπογράφουμε -μέλη της Καμπάνιας για την Πρόσβαση στο Άσυλο-  και δραστηριοποιούμαστε στο πεδίο προστασίας των δικαιωμάτων του ανθρώπου, εκφράζουμε την ανησυχία και την επί της αρχής έντονη αντίθεσή μας για τη θεσμική οπισθοδρόμηση που σηματοδοτεί η κατάργηση του Υπουργείου Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής και κυρίως η, εκ νέου, υπαγωγή του χαρτοφυλακίου της μετανάστευσης και του ασύλου στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη[1], δηλαδή στο Υπουργείο το οποίο είναι κατ’ αρχήν αρμόδιο για ζητήματα δημόσιας τάξης και ασφάλειας.

Υπενθυμίζουμε ότι:

–          Η δημιουργία, το 2015, ξεχωριστού υπουργικού χαρτοφυλακίου, για ζητήματα ασύλου και μετανάστευσης, υπαγόμενου αρχικά στο Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών και η, εν συνεχεία, σύσταση αυτοτελούς Υπουργείου Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής το 2016, χαιρετίστηκε από  διεθνή και ευρωπαϊκά όργανα[2] ως ένα θετικό βήμα  για την αντιμετώπιση  των  σοβαρών ελλειμμάτων και διαρθρωτικών δυσλειτουργιών  που είχε   δημιουργήσει   η  προβληματική  διαχείριση κυρίως του Υπουργείου Δημόσιας Τάξης, και μάλιστα προ της «προσφυγικής κρίσης», με καταγραφή σοβαρών παραβιάσεων που είχαν οδηγήσει σε κριτική   από διεθνή και ενωσιακά όργανα και καταδίκες της Ελλάδας από το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου (ΕΔΔΑ)[3].

–          Συγκεκριμένα, οι μακροχρόνιες ανεπάρκειες του συστήματος ασύλου στην  Ελλάδα, την περίοδο κατά την οποία τη σχετική αρμοδιότητα είχε το Υπουργείο Δημόσιας Τάξης,  είχαν καταγραφεί   και  ευρέως στηλιτευτεί και από εθνικούς[4] και διεθνείς[5]οργανισμούς, οργανώσεις και ΜΚΟ[6],  συνιστάμενες σε:

α. αδυναμία πρόσβασης στη διαδικασία ασύλου,

β. ανυπαρξία μηχανισμών εντοπισμού  και προστασίας των ευάλωτων ομάδων (ασυνόδευτων ανηλίκων, θυμάτων βασανιστηρίων, εμπορίας ανθρώπων κλπ)

γ.  αυθαίρετη και πολύμηνη κράτηση αιτούντων άσυλο και μεταναστών

 σε συνθήκες απάνθρωπες,

δ.  αντιμετώπιση του μεταναστευτικού ζητήματος με επαναλαμβανόμενες  «επιχειρήσεις σκούπας» της αστυνομίας,  στη διάρκεια των οποίων σημειώνονταν  εκτεταμένες παραβιάσεις ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων.

ε.   έλλειψη διαδικαστικών και ουσιαστικών εγγυήσεων,  παραβιάσεις στην πρόσβαση και  στην εξέταση των αιτήσεων ασύλου,

στ. έλλειψη πλαισίου  υποδοχής και πρόσβασης στην άσκηση  θεμελιωδών  δικαιωμάτων, με δυσμενείς συνέπειες, ιδίως για  τις πιο ευάλωτες ομάδες.

Επισημαίνουμε επίσης ότι υπό τη συνθήκη που διαμορφώθηκε μετά το 2015, με την είσοδο μεγάλου αριθμού προσφύγων στην Ελλάδα ως χώρα πρώτης εισόδου στην Ε.Ε., κατέστη επείγουσα και επιτακτική  η  ανάθεση του ζητήματος σε ένα ιδιαίτερο Υπουργείο  και  η δημιουργία και ενίσχυση κατάλληλων δομών τόσο  υποδοχής και  ασύλου  όσο  και ένταξης προσφύγων και μεταναστών. Και αυτό κατέστη ακόμη πιο αναγκαίο μετά το  κλείσιμο του «βαλκανικού» δρόμου και τη Δήλωση αρχηγών κρατών της ΕΕ -Τουρκίας, που  επέτειναν  τα προβλήματα με τον εγκλωβισμό μεγάλου αριθμού αιτούντων άσυλο στα νησιά του βορειοανατολικού Αιγαίου σε  απαράδεκτες συνθήκες.

–  Οι οργανώσεις  που υπογράφουμε επισημαίνουμε ότι τα ζητήματα ασύλου και μετανάστευσης δεν είναι ζητήματα δημόσιας τάξης και ασφάλειας, τα οποία αποτελούν τα κατεξοχήν ζητήματα αρμοδιότητας του Υπουργείου Προστασίας του Πολίτη, αλλά ζητήματα διεθνούς προστασίας, υποδοχής κοινωνικής ένταξης και κράτους δικαίου, όπως έχει επισημανθεί, μεταξύ άλλων, και από την Εθνική Επιτροπή για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου (ΕΕΔΑ)[7].    Η αντίληψη  αυτή άλλωστε καταγράφεται σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο με την υπαγωγή των  ζητημάτων  αυτών στην αρμοδιότητα είτε ειδικού χαρτοφυλακίου μεταναστευτικής πολιτικής σε Υπουργεία Εσωτερικών είτε σε Ανεξάρτητες Αρχές[8].  Οι πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες είναι κομμάτι της ελληνικής κοινωνίας και δεν πρέπει να  αντιμετωπίζονται ως  κίνδυνος για τη δημόσια τάξη. Η αναγωγή τους σε ζήτημα δημόσιας τάξης  στιγματίζει τις κατηγορίες αυτές και τις εκθέτει, καλλιεργώντας και ενισχύοντας  ρατσιστικές και βίαιες συμπεριφορές  εναντίον τους.

Με βάση τα παραπάνω  καλούμε την ελληνική κυβέρνηση:

  • Να επανεξετάσει και να αναθεωρήσει την υπαγωγή του χαρτοφυλακίου της μετανάστευσης και του ασύλου στην αρμοδιότητα του Υπουργείου Προστασίας του Πολίτη,  το οποίο είναι, εκ του αντικειμένου του, το πλέον θεσμικά ακατάλληλο  για να  διαχειριστεί  την υποδοχή και κοινωνική ένταξη μεταναστών και προσφύγων.
  • Να διασφαλίσει ότι οι διαθέσιμοι ευρωπαϊκοί πόροι θα διατεθούν  πραγματικά  για  τους σκοπούς   της  ορθής και δίκαιης  διαχείρισης  του ασύλου και της ένταξης  και όχι για ενίσχυση στρατιωτικών και αστυνομικών  σωμάτων με αποστολή την αποτροπή.

Επαναφέρουμε, δε, τις πάγιες θέσεις μας,  για τα ζητήματα προστασίας μεταναστών και προσφύγων, με σεβασμό στο εθνικό και διεθνές κεκτημένο ως προς τα δικαιώματα του ανθρώπου. Συγκεκριμένα:

           Συνιστά προτεραιότητα η διασφάλιση της απρόσκοπτης πρόσβασης στο άσυλο και των εγγυήσεων για δίκαιη και ποιοτική διαδικασία ασύλου -χωρίς λογικές σύντμησης της διάρκειάς της- και γρήγορη επανένωση των οικογενειών. Η εφαρμογή «ταχύρρυθμων» διαδικασιών ασύλου δυναμιτίζουν μια δίκαιη και αποτελεσματική διαδικασία εξέτασης των αιτημάτων, ιδίως με την εφαρμογή της έννοιας της «ασφαλούς τρίτης χώρας».

  • Η Κοινή Δήλωση αρχηγών κρατών ΕΕ-Τουρκίας, πλέον των ζητημάτων προστασίας των προσφύγων, τα οποία έχουμε ήδη επισημάνει καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια της εφαρμογής της Κοινής Δήλωσης, είναι η αιτία σοβαρών προβλημάτων που ταλανίζουν τους πρόσφυγες και  τις τοπικές κοινωνίες των νησιών.
  • Πολιτικές περί «προσωρινών δικαιωμάτων των προσφύγων» αντιβαίνουν στα αναγνωρισμένα και κατοχυρωμένα, διεθνώς αλλά και σε εθνικό επίπεδο, δικαιώματα των προσφύγων και των μεταναστών (υγεία, εκπαίδευση, εργασία) και επιπλέον δυναμιτίζουν και τις διαδικασίες ένταξης ανθρώπων που δικαιούνται προστασία από τη χώρα μας.
  •  Είναι αναγκαία η ενίσχυση των  δομών υποδοχής και προστασίας, με έμφαση στις ευάλωτες ομάδες και η διασφάλιση συνθηκών υποδοχής συμβατών με τα προβλεπόμενα στο διεθνές δίκαιο.
  • Είναι αναγκαία η εξασφάλιση ομαλής ροής χρηματοδότησης από τους ευρωπαϊκούς πόρους, η οποία καταγράφει συνεχείς καθυστερήσεις που έχουν δραματικές συνέπειες στη συνέχιση λειτουργίας δομών και υπηρεσιών, λόγω και των συνεχών αλλαγών των αρμόδιων δημοσίων φορέων – με μέχρι τώρα αρμόδιο το  Υπουργείο Οικονομικών.
  • Πολιτικές  επιλογές  κλειστών κέντρων υποδοχής αιτούντων άσυλο είναι αντίθετες  με το διεθνές και ενωσιακό πλαίσιο.
  • Τέλος, εκφράζουμε την ανησυχία μας ως προς τις εξαγγελίες της κυβέρνησης για αποτελεσματική φύλαξη των συνόρων με σύγχρονα τεχνικά μέσα και ένταση των περιπολιών, χωρίς οιαδήποτε αναφορά στις διεθνείς και εθνικές υποχρεώσεις διάσωσης και ιδίως στην τήρηση της αρχής της μη επαναπροώθησης προσφύγων.
  • Υπενθυμίζουμε ότι η Καμπάνια για την Πρόσβαση στο άσυλο έχει εκφράσει επανειλημμένα την εντονότατη ανησυχία των οργανώσεων σχετικά με την, ως άνω, διαμορφωθείσα κατάσταση σε Ελλάδα και Ευρώπη, καθώς αυτή οδηγεί σε ανατροπή του νομικού κεκτημένου σε σχέση με την προστασία του πρόσφυγα και το σεβασμό της ανθρώπινης αξίας[9].

Η Καμπάνια για την Πρόσβαση στο Άσυλο και οι οργανώσεις επισημαίνουν τις χρόνιες ελλείψεις της μεταναστευτικής πολιτικής, τις οποίες η Πολιτεία οφείλει να αποκαταστήσει, καθώς και την αποτυχία όλων των κατά καιρούς κατασταλτικών πολιτικών, που μόνο αποτέλεσμα έχουν την αύξηση ξενοφοβικών αντιλήψεων στην κοινωνία και την προσβολή των δημοκρατικών θεσμών και του κράτους δικαίου.

ΟΙ ΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΕΙΣ ΠΟΥ ΣΥΝΥΠΟΓΡΑΦΟΥΝ (αλφαβητικά)

ΑΙΤΗΜΑ http://www.aitima.gr

Δίκτυο Κοινωνικής Υποστήριξης Προσφύγων & Μεταναστών http://migrant.diktio.org 

 Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι  https://greekhelsinki.wordpress.com

Ελληνικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγεςhttp://www.gcr.gr

 Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Προσφύγων http://www.refugees.gr

 Κόσμος χωρίς Πολέμους και Βία www.kosmosxorispolemous.gr 

 “ΛΑΘΡΑ;” – Επιτροπή Αλληλεγγύης στους Πρόσφυγες Χίου http://www.lathra.gr

Ομάδα Δικηγόρων για τα Δικαιώματα Προσφύγων και Μεταναστώνhttp://www.omadadikigorwn.blogspot.com

Πρωτοβουλία για τα Δικαιώματα των Κρατουμένων http://www.tokeli.gr

Υποστήριξη Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο (RSA) http://rsaegean.org/el

[1] Με το ΠΔ 81/2019 (ΦΕΚ Α’ 119/08-07-2019)

[2] COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION, C(2016) 871 final, 10.2.2016,http://www.statewatch.org/news/2016/feb/eu-greece-commission-recommendation-transfers-871-16.pdf

https://rm.coe.int/compilation-decisions-2014-2018-en-/168077bad6

Ύπατη Αρμοστεία του ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες, 6/4/2016, Συστάσεις της Ύπατης Αρμοστείας προς τη νέα ελληνική κυβέρνηση,

https://www.unhcr.org/gr/3626-

Full text of the press statement delivered by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance M. Mutuma Ruteere on 8 May 2015 in Athens, Greece,https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15943&LangID=E

[3]Διεθνείς και εθνικοί οργανισμοί είχαν συστηματικά εκφράσει την ανησυχία τους για σχετικές παραβιάσεις που αφορούσαν στη νομιμότητα και στις συνθήκες κράτηση, τις διαδικασίες ασύλου και υποδοχής ως μη ανταποκρινόμενες στα διεθνή και ενωσιακά πρότυπα Βλ  ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ ΤΗΣ ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ, ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΗ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΠΡΟΛΗΨΗ ΤΩΝ ΒΑΣΑΝΙΣΤΗΡΙΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΑΛΛΩΝ ΜΟΡΦΩΝ ΣΚΛΗΡΗΣ, ΑΠΑΝΘΡΩΠΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΑΠΕΙΝΩΤΙΚΗΣ ΜΕΤΑΧΕΙΡΙΣΗΣ Η ΤΙΜΩΡΙΑΣ (CPT), Έκθεση για την Ελλάδα βασισμένη στην επίσκεψη της στην Ελλάδα την Ιανουαρίου 2011, CPT/Inf (2012) 1, 10 Ιανουαρίου 2012, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/grc/2012-01-inf-eng.pdf ; ΔΙΕΘΝΗΣ ΑΜΝΗΣΤΙΑ, Δημόσια Δήλωση, Ένας χρόνος από την υπόθεση M.S.S.- Η Ελλάδα συνεχίζει να παραβιάζει τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα των αιτούντων άσυλο, EUR 25/002/2012, 26 Ιανουαρίου 2012,http://www.amnesty.org /; ΔΙΕΘΝΗΣΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗΝΟΜΙΚΩΝ (ICJ) ΚΑΙ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΟ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΞΟΡΙΣΤΩΝ (ECRE), Κοινή αναφορά προς την Επιτροπή Υπουργών του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης στην υπόθεση Μ..S.S. κατά Βελγίου και Ελλάδας, Μάιος 2012,http://www.ecre.org/component/content/article/64-elena-publications/280-joint-submission-of-the-international-commission-of-jurists-and-of-the-european-council-on-refugees-and-refugees-and-exiles-to-the-committee-of-ministers-of-the-council-of-europe-in-the-case-of-mss-v-belgium-a-greece-application-no-3069609.html .  ; EΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΤΩΝ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΩΝ ΕΘΝΩΝ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΩΝ ΒΑΣΑΝΙΣΤΗΡΙΩΝ, Καταληκτικές παρατηρήσεις – Ελλάδα, CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 7 Μαΐου – 1 Ιουνίου 2012,http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats48.htm .

Σε πολυάριθμες υποθέσεις του ΕΔΔΑ, μεταξύ άλλων: Υπόθεση S.D. κατά Ελλάδας (προσφυγή υπ’ αρ. 53541/07), 11 Ιούνιος 2009; Υπόθεση Tabesh κατά Ελλάδας (προσφυγή υπ’ αρ. 8256/07), 26 Νοέμβριος 2009; Υπόθεση A.A. κατά Ελλάδας (προσφυγή υπ’ αρ. 12186/08), 22 Ιουλίου 2010; Υπόθεση M.S.S. κατά Βελγίου και Ελλάδας, βλ. Ανωτέρω σημείωση20, Υπόθεση Rahimi κατά Ελλάδας (προσφυγή υπ’ αρ. 8687/08), 5 Απριλίου 2011; Υπόθεση R.U. κατά Ελλάδας (προσφυγή υπ’ αρ. 2237/08), 7 Ιουνίου 2011.

[4]Βλ, π.χ., ΣΥΝΗΓΟΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΛΙΤΗ, Ειδική έκθεση: Η προστασία των προσώπων που ζητούν πολιτικό άσυλο στην Ελλάδα: Προβλήματα ερμηνείας και εφαρμογής, Αθήνα, Φεβρουάριος 2007, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.synigoros.gr/?i=foreigner.el.prosbasi-asylo.50319; ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ, Παρατηρήσεις επί της διαδικασίας ασύλου και ζητήματα εφαρμογής της σχετικής νομοθεσίας, Αθήνα, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2008, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.nchr.gr/category.php?category_id=233&page=2; ΣΥΝΗΓΟΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΛΙΤΗΑναστολή της διαδικασίας παραλαβής αιτημάτων από το Τμήμα Ασύλου της Δ/νσης Αλλοδαπών Αττικής, Αθήνα, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2008, μια παρέμβαση του Συνηγόρου του Πολίτη σχετικά με την αναστολή της λειτουργίας του Τμήματος Ασύλου Αττικής από τον Σεπτέμβρη έως τέλη Οκτωβρίου 2008, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση: http://www.synigoros.gr/?i=foreigner.el.prosbasi-asylo.50263. Σε αναφορά του, ο Συνήγορος του Πολίτη επανέλαβε τις σοβαρές ανησυχίες του για το σύστημα ασύλου στην Ελλάδα:«Όσον αφορά την διαδικασία ασύλουτων ενδιαφερομένων αλλοδαπών, ο Συνήγορος του Πολίτη διαπιστώνει ότι οι δυσκολίες και τα προβλήματα εξακολουθούν να υφίστανται σε έντονο βαθμό. Τα προβλήματα αυτά εστιάζονται ιδίως σε πρακτικές που αφορούν την περιορισμένη και επιλεκτική παραλαβή αιτημάτων ασύλου, την υπέρμετρη καθυστέρηση στη λήψη της συνέντευξης, την πλημμελή λειτουργία των Επιτροπών Ασύλου, την καθυστέρηση στις ανανεώσεις ή αντικαταστάσεις των ειδικών δελτίων και τέλος την ελλιπή στελέχωση της αρμόδιας υπηρεσίας.»Βλ ΣΥΝΗΓΟΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΛΙΤΗ, Διαπιστώσεις της από 16.11.2010 διενεργηθεiσας αυτοψίας του Συνήγορου του Πολίτη στη Διεύθυνση Αλλοδαπών Αττικής (Π.Ράλλη 24), Αθήνα, 25 Ιανουαρίου 2011, σελ.2, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνσηhttp://www.synigoros.gr/resources/8957_2_eggrafostp.pdf.

[5]Βλ., π.χ., Eυρωπαικο  κοινοβουλιο, Αναφορά της Αντιπροσωπείας της Επιτροπής Ατομικών Ελευθεριών για την Επίσκεψη στην Ελλάδα (Σάμος και Αθήνα), Βρυξέλλες, 2 Ιουλίου 2007, PV\675423EN.doc;ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ της ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ, Αναφορά του Thomas Hammarberg, Επιτρόπου για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης, μετά από την επίσκεψή του στην Ελλάδα, 8-10 Δεκεμβρίου 2008, Στρασβούργο, 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2009,CommDH(2009)6, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση: https://wcd.coe.int/; ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΗ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΕΝΑΝΤΙΑΣΤΟ ΡΑΤΣΙΣΜΟ ΚΑΙ ΤΗ ΜΙΣΑΛΛΟΔΟΞΙΑ,Έκθεση της EΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΗΣ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗΣ ΕΝΑΝΤΙΑ ΣΤΟ ΡΑΤΣΙΣΜΟ ΚΑΙ ΤΗ ΜΙΣΑΛΛΟΔΟΞΙΑ για την Ελλάδα (τέταρτος κύκλος επιτήρησης), 15 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009, CRI(2009)31, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Greece/GRC-CbC-IV-2009-031-ENG.pdf; YπΑΤΗ ΑΡΜΟΣΤΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΟΗΕ ΓΙΑ ΤΟΥΣ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΕΣ, Παρατηρήσεις σχετικά με την Ελλάδα ως χώρα ασύλου, Δεκεμβρίου 2009, σελ.6-7, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.unhcr.gr/fileadmin/Greece/General/Greece/Observations2009EN.pdf; yΠατη  αρμοστεια του οηε για τουσ προσφυγεσ, Η κατάσταση ασύλου στην Ελλάδα, περιλαμβανομένων και των μεταφερόμενων βάσει του Κανονισμού «Δουβλίνο ΙΙ», 31 Ιανουαρίου 2011, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4d76103e2.pdf; υπατη αρμοστεια του οηε για τουσ προσφυγεσ, Η κατάσταση των προσφύγων στην Ελλάδα, Παρατηρήσεις και προτάσεις, 16 Ιουνίου 2011, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση :http://www.unhcr.gr/fileadmin.

[6]Βλ, π.χ., PROASYL & ΟΜΑΔΑ ΔΙΚΗΓΟΡΩΝ ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΑ ΤΩΝ ΜΕΤΑΝΑΣΤΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ ΠΡΟΣΦΥΓΩΝ, Η αλήθεια μπορεί να είναι σκληρή, αλλά πρέπει να ειπωθεί: Η κατάσταση των Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο και οι πρακτικές του Ελληνικού Λιμενικού Σώματος, Οκτώβριος 2007, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.proasyl.de/fileadmin/proasyl/fm_redakteure/Kampagnen/Stoppt_das_Sterben/Griechenlandbericht_Engl_01.pdf; ΝΟΡΒΗΓΙΚΗ ΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΗ ΓΙΑ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΙΤΟΥΝΤΕΣ ΑΣΥΛΟ (NOAS), Η ΝΟΡΒΗΓΙΚΗ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΕΛΣΙΝΚΙ (NHC) &ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΤΩΝΣΥΜΦΩΝΙΩΝ ΤΟΥ ΕΛΣΙΝΚΙ (gHM), Θέμα τύχης το δικαίωμα στο άσυλο στην Ευρώπη: Η ελληνική πολιτική ασύλου και ο Κανονισμός Δουβλίνο ΙΙ, Όσλο & Aθήνα, 9 Aπριλίου 2008, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://noas.org/file.php?id=53; PROASYL, Η κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα είναι εκτός ελέγχου: Έρευνα για την κατάσταση των αιτούντων άσυλο στην Ελλάδα, Οκτώβριος 2008, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.proasyl.de/fileadmin/proasyl/fm_redakteure/Asyl_in_Europa/Griechenland/Out_of_contol_Eng_END.pdf;ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΡΙΟΤΩΝΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΩΝΤΟΥΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ, Εγκλωβισμένοι σε μια περιστρεφόμενη πόρτα: Ιρακινοί και άλλοι αιτούντες άσυλο και μετανάστες στην Είσοδο στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση από τα Ελληνο-Τουρκικά σύνορα, 26Nοεμβρίου 2008, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.hrw.org/reports/2008/11/26/stuck-revolving-door-0;ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΤΩΝ ΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΩΝ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ, βλ. Ανωτέρω σημείωση NHC, ΝOAS& Aitima, Aπό την πίσω πόρτα: Ο Κανονισμός ΔουβλίνοII και οι παράνομες απελάσεις από την Ελλάδα, Όσλο&Αθήνα, Oκτώβριος 2009, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.aitima.gr/aitima_files/Out%20the%20Back%20Door.pdf;Διεθνησ αμνηστια,  Η παγίδα ΔΟΥΒΛΙΝΟ ΙΙ: Επιστροφές αιτούντων άσυλο στην Ελλάδα, 22 Mαρτίου 2010, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR25/001/2010;ΔΙΕΘΝΗΣΑΜΝΗΣΤΙΑ, Ελλάδα: Συστηματική κράτηση παράτυπων μεταναστών και αιτούντων άσυλο σε υποτυπώδεις συνθήκες, 27 Ιουλίου 2010, διαθέσιμο στην διεύθυνση:http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR25/002/2010/en/07291fb2-dcb8-4393-9f13-2d2487368310/eur250022010en.pdf.

[7] Παρατηρήσεις στα σχέδια νόµου του Υπουργείου Προστασίας του Πολίτη «Ίδρυση Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου και Υπηρεσίες Πρώτης Υποδοχής, προσαρµογή της ελληνικής νοµοθεσίας προς τις διατάξεις της Οδηγίας 2008/115/ΕΚ «σχετικά µε τους κοινούς κανόνες και διαδικασίες στα κράτη µέλη για την επιστροφή των παρανόµως διαµενόντων υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών» και λοιπές διατάξεις»http://www.nchr.gr/images/pdf/apofaseis/prosfuges_metanastes/EEDA_asylo_epistrofes_2010.pdf

[8] AIDA COUNTRY REPORTS 2019

[9] Δελτία τύπου Καμπάνιας για την πρόσβαση στο Άσυλο, ενδεικτικά:http://asylum-campaign.blogspot.com/2016/02/ , http://asylum-campaign.blogspot.com/2017/ , http://asylum-campaign.blogspot.com/2018/10/24102018.html#more

Αντίστοιχης  θεματικής Δελτίο τύπου της Ελληνικής Ένωσης για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου από τις 17 Ιουλίου 2019

Δελτίο Τύπου για την υπαγωγή του ασύλου, της μετανάστευσης και του σωφρονιστικού συστήματος στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη

Η Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου εκφράζει την ανησυχία της για την μεταφορά των αρμοδιοτήτων που αφορούν το άσυλο, την υποδοχή πολιτών τρίτων χωρών και το σωφρονιστικό σύστημα στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη.
Με το ΠΔ 81/2019 (ΦΕΚ Α’ 119/08-07-2019), το Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη και το Υπουργείο Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής συγχωνεύθηκαν στο νέο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη. Στο Υπουργείο αυτό υπάγονται πλέον οι αρμοδιότητες που αφορούν την υποδοχή των πολιτών τρίτων χωρών, την εξέταση και χορήγηση ασύλου με την υπαγωγή σε αυτό της αυτοτελούς Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου και της ανεξάρτητης Αρχής Προσφυγών, καθώς και της Υπηρεσίας Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης. Με το ίδιο προεδρικό διάταγμα υπάγονται στο νέο Υπουργείο και η Ειδική Γραμματεία Συντονισμού και Διαχείρισης Προγραμμάτων, Ταμείου Ασύλου, Μετανάστευσης και Ένταξης και Ταμείου Εσωτερικής Ασφάλειας και Άλλων Πόρων, του Υπουργείου Οικονομίας και Ανάπτυξης. Τέλος προς την οδό Κατεχάκη οδεύει και η Γενική Γραμματεία Αντεγκληματικής Πολιτικής, συμπεριλαμβανομένου του συνόλου των υπαγομένων σε αυτήν οργανικών μονάδων (φυλακές, επιμελητές ανηλίκων, ιατροδικαστικές υπηρεσίες κα).
Ο σχεδιασμός και η υλοποίηση της εθνικής μεταναστευτικής πολιτικής από το υπουργείο αυτό συμβολίζει και την αντιμετώπισή της ως ζητήματος ασφάλειας και δημόσιας τάξης. Την ίδια στιγμή τοποθετεί ένα κρίσιμο πληθυσμιακά μέγεθος σε καθεστώς αστυνομικής εποπτείας, θεωρούμενο προεχόντως ως δυνάμει απειλή για τη δημόσια τάξη και όχι ως υποκείμενο δικαιωμάτων. Η αντιμετώπιση της μετανάστευσης ως προβλήματος για το οποίο πρέπει να επιληφθούν οι αστυνομικές αρχές ενισχύει την ανασφάλεια δικαίου και πλήττει την κοινωνική συνοχή.
Πάγιο αίτημα της κοινωνίας των πολιτών ήταν οι διαδικασίες που αφορούν το άσυλο και τη μετανάστευση να είναι διακριτές από τη δημόσια τάξη. Υπενθυμίζουμε ότι η Εθνική Επιτροπή για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου είχε γνωμοδοτήσει ήδη πριν από την ίδρυση της αυτοτελούς Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου και της ανεξάρτητης Αρχής Προσφυγών το 2013, για την υπαγωγή των αρμοδιοτήτων μετανάστευσης και ασύλου σε έναν ενιαίο φορέα και πάντως όχι στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη.[1] Αξίζει επίσης να επισημανθεί ότι χρειάστηκαν χρόνια επισταμένης προσπάθειας για να αποσυνδεθεί η διαδικασία χορήγησης ασύλου από τις αρμοδιότητες της αστυνομίας και να ανταποκριθούμε στις ενωσιακές μας υποχρεώσεις, ανάγκη που είχε ήδη καταδειχθεί με την απόφαση MSS κατά Βελγίου και Ελλάδας. Για όλους τους παραπάνω λόγους, πιστεύουμε ότι η μεταφορά του χαρτοφυλακίου της μεταναστευτικής πολιτικής στο προηγούμενο οργανωτικό καθεστώς συνιστά οπισθοδρόμηση.
Η Πολιτεία οφείλει να αντιμετωπίζει υπεύθυνα τα ζητήματα που αφορούν την υποδοχή και την κοινωνική ένταξη πολιτών τρίτων χωρών. Θυμίζουμε ότι στη χώρα μας ζουν περισσότεροι από 500.000 νόμιμα διαμένοντες μετανάστες. Παράλληλα, ως το τέλος του 2020, και με βάση εκτίμησης τον παρόντα ρυθμό αφίξεων καθώς και το μέσο όρο αναγνώρισης δικαιούχων που προσεγγίζει το 50%, αναμένεται ότι τουλάχιστον 10.000 άτομα θα αναγνωρίζονται ετησίως ως δικαιούχοι διεθνούς προστασίας.[2] Ως εκ τούτου η Ελλάδα, ως κράτος μέλος πρώτης εισόδου στην ΕΕ και ως χώρα υποδοχής προσφύγων και μεταναστών οφείλει να έχει ως κεντρική προτεραιότητα τη μεταναστευτική πολιτική. Η Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου υπογραμμίζει ότι η μεταναστευτική πολιτική μιας δικαιοκρατούμενης Πολιτείας πρέπει να επιδιώκει πρωτίστως την κοινωνική ένταξη και όχι να κυριαρχείται από μια φοβική λογική αποκλεισμών.
Στην ίδια κατεύθυνση, η ανάθεση του σωφρονιστικού έργου στην αστυνομία είναι άκρως προβληματική. Στις περισσότερες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες οι φυλακές υπάγονται στο Υπουργείο Δικαιοσύνης. Η υπαγωγή δε αυτής της αρμοδιότητας στο Υπουργείο Δικαιοσύνης αποτελεί προϋπόθεση εισόδου για τα νέα κράτη μέλη του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης.  Σύμφωνα με τις συστάσεις της Επιτροπής Υπουργών του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης πρέπει να υπάρχει σαφής διάκριση μεταξύ του ρόλου της αστυνομίας και του σωφρονιστικού συστήματος, προκειμένου να είναι απολύτως διακριτές οι αρμοδιότητες μεταξύ δίωξης του εγκλήματος και εκτέλεσης της ποινής.[3]
Σε ένα κράτος δικαίου  η εκτέλεση όλων των ποινών, είτε των στερητικών της ελευθερίας είτε των λεγόμενων εναλλακτικών, όπως της κοινωφελούς εργασίας, πρέπει να αντιμετωπίζεται με άξονες τον σεβασμό των δικαστικών αποφάσεων, των δικαιωμάτων των κρατουμένων, τη βελτίωση των συνθηκών κράτησης και την κοινωνική επανένταξη των καταδικασθέντων, και όχι μόνο με όρους καταστολής. Έτσι, εξάλλου, καθίσταται αποτελεσματικότερη και η προστασία της δημόσιας τάξης και η πρόληψη της υποτροπής. Η επίλυση των ζητημάτων που αντιμετωπίζει το σωφρονιστικό σύστημα, δεν δύναται να επιτευχθεί αποκλειστικά και μόνο μέσω του αστυνομικού ελέγχου. Σε κάθε περίπτωση, η εκτέλεση των ποινικών αποφάσεων δεν αποτελεί αρμοδιότητα των διωκτικών αρχών αλλά της δικαιοσύνης.
Η ΕλΕΔΑ επικρίνει τη μεταφορά όλων των αρμοδιοτήτων της μεταναστευτικής και αντεγκληματικής πολιτικής στο Υπουργείο Προστασίας του Πολίτη και θεωρεί ότι τα μέτρα που ελήφθησαν είναι βεβιασμένα, αναιτιολόγητα και αναχρονιστικά. Η επιλογή αυτή δεν είναι η ορθή απάντηση, σε ένα ευρωπαϊκό κράτος δικαίου, σε κανένα από τα υπαρκτά προβλήματα διαχείρισης ή και δημόσιας ασφάλειας που αντιμετωπίζουν τα πεδία του ασύλου, της μετανάστευσης και του σωφρονιστικού συστήματος. Αντίθετα, αυτή η αλλαγή ενδέχεται να δημιουργήσει νέα προβλήματα με κοινωνικά αρνητικό πρόσημο.
Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου
17 Ιουλίου 2019
[1] Εθνική Επιτροπή για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου, Παρατηρήσεις στα σχέδια νόμου του Υπουργείου Προστασίας του Πολίτη «Ίδρυση Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου και Υπηρεσίες Πρώτης Υποδοχής, Προσαρμογή της ελληνικής νομοθεσίας προς τις διατάξεις της Οδηγίας 2008/115/ΕΚ «σχετικά µε τους κοινούς κανόνες και διαδικασίες στα κράτη µέλη για την επιστροφή των παρανόμως διαμενόντων υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών» και λοιπές διατάξεις», διαθέσιμο σε: http://www.nchr.gr/images/pdf/apofaseis/prosfuges_metanastes/EEDA_asylo_epistrofes_2010.pdf
[2] Υπουργείο Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής, Εθνική Στρατηγική για την Ένταξη, διαθέσιμο σε: https://bit.ly/2SiyoXL 
[3] Recommendation Rec(2001)10 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Code of Police Ethics: https://rm.coe.int/16805e297e

2019 UN CERD election set a milestone for gender parity

Date : 2019.06.28

Joint Communiqué

2019 CERD election set a milestone for gender parity

Geneva, Switzerland. 28 June 2019

On June 21st, States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) voted to renew half of the membership of the Committee (CERD). They elected 6 new experts and re-elected 3 members who were already seating in the Committee, among 14 candidates from all regions.[1]

New members include Ms. Stamatia Stavrinaki (Greece), Mr. Eduardo Ernesto Vega Luna (Peru), Mr. Ibrahima Guisse(Senegal), Ms. Faith Dikeledi Pansy Tlakula (South Africa), Ms. Sheikha Abdulla Ali Al-Misnad (Qatar) and Mr. Mehrdad Payandeh (Germany).

They will join 3 experts whose terms as members of the CERD were coming to an end and who have been re-elected for another four-year period: Ms. Verene Shepherd (Jamaica), Ms. Yanduan Li (China), and Ms. Yemhelha mint Mohamed (Mauritania), as well as the 9 other members of the Committee, whose mandate will expire in 2022[2].

Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race & Equality) and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), congratulate newly elected CERD members and those re-elected.

This year’s election set an important milestone for gender parity within the Committee. With the election/re-election of 6 women, half of the Committee’s seats will be held by women from next year. It was the first time in the history of the CERD that the election led to equal representation of men and women in the Committee.[3] We encourage States parties to continue taking into account of a good gender balance in the CERD’s membership.

On the other hand, there remains a margin of improvement regarding the equitable geographic distribution in the CERD membership. Notably, only one member of the Committee will be from Eastern Europe from 2020. We invite States parties to give a greater consideration to equitable geographic distribution in the CERD membership.

In an effort to promote a merit-based and transparent CERD election process, our three organisations circulated a questionnaire to all candidates on their background, relevant experience and vision of their work as a member of the Committee. Responses received were then posted on a dedicated website: www.untbelections.org, and shared with States parties one month ahead of the election in order to help them learn the qualifications of respective candidates and inform their decision.

Background:

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is composed of 18 independent experts.

Members are elected for a term of 4 years by States parties from among their nationals, consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution and to representation of the different forms of civilization as well as of the principal legal systems, in accordance with article 8 of the ICERD. 

Elections are held every 2 years at a meeting of States parties held at the UN headquarters in New York.

The newly elected members will begin their term in January 2020 and their mandates will expire in January 2024.

[1] Overview of the 2019 CERD Election: http://imadr.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-CERD-Election-Results.pdf

[2] Mr. Albuquerque E. Silva (Brazil), Mr. Amir (Algeria), Mr. Bossuyt (Belgium),  Ms. Chung (Republic of Korea), Mr. Diaby (Côte d’Ivoire), Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye (Hungary), Ms. Ko (Japan), Mr. Kut (Turkey) and Mr. Yeung Sik Yuen (Mauritius)

[3] In April 2019, Ms. Verdugo Moreno (Spain) replaced Mr. Marugán to serve the remainder of his term until 19 January 2020.

Download the Communiqué

ΕλΕΔΑ: Απολυτήρια χωρίς θρήσκευμα; Πολύ καλό για να είναι αληθινό

eleda

Απολυτήρια χωρίς θρήσκευμα; Πολύ καλό για να είναι αληθινό

Με σημερινή ανακοίνωσή του, το Υπουργείο Παιδείας χαρακτηρίζει fake news συγκεκριμένο δημοσίευμα που έκανε λόγο για απάλειψη του θρησκεύματος από τα απολυτήρια μέσης εκπαίδευσης. Πράγματι, η σχετική υπουργική απόφαση δεν καταργεί την αναγραφή, παρά μόνον υπάγει το θρήσκευμα σε εκείνες τις καταχωρίσεις για τις οποίες απαιτείται αντίστοιχη εγγραφή στο δημοτολογικό πιστοποιητικό ή, ελλείψει αυτής, υπεύθυνη δήλωση των γονέων. Παραμένει, έτσι, το επίμαχο ζήτημα αρχής, για το οποίο η Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου, επικαλούμενη τόσο το Σύνταγμα όσο και την ευρωπαϊκή νομοθεσία, έχει ήδη προσφύγει στην Αρχή Προστασίας Δεδομένων Προσωπικού Χαρακτήρα.

Είναι πραγματολογικά ορθή η έντονη αυτή αντίδραση, καθώς το Υπουργείο όχι μόνο δεν καταργεί την αναγραφή θρησκεύματος, αλλ’ ούτε καν διανοείται να συμπεριλάβει κάτι τέτοιο στις προτεραιότητές του. Ταυτόχρονα, όμως, το δημοσίευμα και η διάψευσή του συγκροτούν ένα ενδιαφέρον παράδειγμα για την επικοινωνιακή διαχείριση των δικαιωμάτων και για την ανάγκη διαρκούς εγρήγορσης των υποστηρικτών τους υπό συνθήκες οπισθοδρόμησης. Η κατάργηση της αποκάλυψης ενδιαθέτων φρονημάτων σε δημόσια μητρώα και έγγραφα αποτελούσε θεμελιώδες αίτημα του κράτους δικαίου, αποδεδειγμένα ώριμο ήδη πριν από δύο δεκαετίες με βάση τις αποφάσεις του Συμβουλίου Επικρατείας για τα δελτία αστυνομικής ταυτότητας. Σήμερα, αντιθέτως, το ίδιο εκείνο αίτημα όχι μόνον έχει παύσει να θεωρείται αυτονόητο, αλλ’ επί πλέον το ενδεχόμενο ικανοποίησής του προβάλλεται από μεν ορισμένα μέσα ενημέρωσης ως φάσμα εθνικού και κοινωνικού κινδύνου, από δε το αρμόδιο Υπουργείο ως προεκλογική συκοφαντία.

Απομένουν, έτσι, μοναχικοί και αμήχανοι όσοι συμπολίτες μας θα υποδέχονταν με ικανοποίηση, ως πραγματικές ειδήσεις και όχι φυσικά ως προεκλογικά fake news, την κατάργηση της αναγραφής θρησκεύματος, το θρησκευτικό αποχρωματισμό της εκπαίδευσης, το χωρισμό της εκκλησίας από το κράτος και γενικά την εξάλειψη υπολειμμάτων θεοκρατίας στην ελληνική κοινωνία. Στο όνομα αυτών των συμπολιτών μας αλλά και του ίδιου του κράτους δικαίου, η Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου συνεχίζει με πείσμα τον αγώνα της.

 

18 Ιουνίου 2019

Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου

JUSTICIA European Rights Network expresses its deep concerns on the decision of Poland to introduce a possibility to sentence a convict for a whole life sentence

14June2019

The members of the JUSTICIA European Rights Network (a coalition of the European leading civil liberties organizations working on the right to a fair trial) would like to express their deep concerns regarding the recent Polish Parliament decision to adopt an amendment to the Criminal Code introducing a possibility to sentence a convict for a whole life sentence.

Pursuant to the newly adopted provision the Criminal Court will have a power to exclude the possibility of conditionalearly release whenever the nature or circumstances of convict’s crime, as well as its personal characteristics, indicate that the convicted person’srelease from prison will result in a permanent threat to the life, health, liberty orsexual freedom of any other person. Moreover, the Court will also be able to make a similar decision in the case of convicts who were previously sentenced to life imprisonment.The JUSTICIA European Rights Network would like to emphasize that these provisions raise serious concerns regarding theircompatibility with the Conventionfor the Protection of Human Rightsand Fundamental Freedoms(the “Convention”). The European Court of Human Rights has on numerous occasionspointed out that all life prisoners cannot be denied a prospect of a release and they should have a possibility to apply for the review of their sentence1.Otherwise, their punishment will result in inhuman treatment violating requirements arising from art. 3 of the Convention. This is also required by other international human rights standards. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example,indicates that the essential aim of the penitentiary system should be a prisoner’s reformation and social rehabilitation. Moreover, theCouncil of 1See e.g.: ECtHR judgement (Grand Chamber) of 9 July 2013 in the case Vinter and Others v. the United Kingdom, application no. 66069/09; ECtHR judgement (Grand Chamber) of 26 April 2016 in the case Murray v. Netherlands, application no. 10511/10;ECtHR judgement of 4 October 2016 in the case T.P. and A.T. v. Hungary, application no. 37871/14

Europe Recommendationsindicate conditional release to be available to all sentenced prisoners, including life–sentenced prisoners2.Likewise, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CPT”) has indicated its serious reservations regarding countries which have introduced whole life sentence. In the CPT’s opinion,imprisonment for life without any real hope of releasehas constitutesinhumantreatment.3Therefore, the members of JUSTICIA European Rights Network hope that Polish authorities will revoke proposed changes in Criminal Code and ensure compliance of the national system of conditional release with the requirements of the Council of Europe. As a result, we call upon the President of Poland to veto the proposed amendment. The adoption of this law will significantly underminehuman rights in Poland. 2Recommendation Rec(2003)22 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on conditional release (parole)3Situation of life-sentenced prisoners, Extract from the 25th General Report of the CPT, published in 2016, available at: https://rm.coe.int/16806cc447

A victory for Humanists and End Blasphemy Laws Campaign: Greece quietly drops ‘blasphemy’ laws from new criminal code! Also religious oath was abolished!

The Humanist Union of Greece (HUG) said today they welcomed:

“these very important developments and especially that they were not met with any significant opposition. HUG hopes that they will be promptly implemented and can only regret that a week after the adoption of the new Codes by Parliament the service Minister of Interior was sworn in with a religious oath on 11 June!”

endblasphemylaws

Greece quietly drops ‘blasphemy’ laws from new criminal code

Blasphemy law will be abolished in Greece from 1 July 2019, when new criminal law comes into effect.

The change comes as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures. The two previous articles outlawing ‘blasphemy’ have been dropped. At the same time, oaths of affirmation have been overhauled so that everyone recites the same civil affirmation, as opposed to any religious oath.

While there have been some words of criticism from leaders of the Greek Orthodox church, wider public reaction against the move has been minimal.

Humanists in Greece and internationally had been campaigning against the ‘blasphemy’ law, which was still actively used, sometimes to suppress religious criticism in theatre and the arts, LGBT rights groups, advertising campaigns, and social media users critical of the church or religion in general. The Humanist Union of Greece (HUG) said today they welcomed:

“these very important developments and especially that they were not met with any significant opposition. HUG hopes that they will be promptly implemented and can only regret that a week after the adoption of the new Codes by Parliament the service Minister of Interior was sworn in with a religious oath on 11 June!”

In one of the most famous of ‘blasphemy’ in recent years, a Facebook user Philippos Louizos was dragged through the courts for several years, over an image he made which made a pun on the name of a Greek Orthodox monk. From 2012 he faced the prospect of prison, only for the charges to be dropped in 2017.

 

 

04 – 06/06/2019: M.S.S. & Rahimi v. Greece asylum cases – Supervision of execution of ECtHR judgments by Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers [with reference to GHM-RRE, GCR and UNHCR submissions]

CMCOE

1348th meeting, 4-6 June 2019 (DH)

 

H46-9 M.S.S. and Rahimi groups v. Greece (Application No. 30696/09)

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments

Reference document

CM/Notes/1348/H46-9

 

Decisions

The Deputies

  1. recalling that these cases concern the degrading treatment of the applicants (asylum seekers or irregular migrants, including unaccompanied minors) on account of their conditions of detention; the degrading treatment of asylum-seeking applicants due to their living conditions; the lack of an effective remedy against expulsion, due to deficiencies in the asylum procedure; and the lack of an effective remedy to complain about the conditions of detention;

As regards individual measures

  1. noted that no further individual measures need to be taken as regards the cases A.F., B.M., Bygylashvili,Chkhartishvili, De los Santos and de la Cruz, Horshill,Kaja, Tatishvili, Al.K., H.H., F.H.,Chazaryan and others, A.Y., Tenko, S.G., Barjamaj andHousein; therefore decided to close their supervision of these cases and to adopt Final Resolution CM/ResDH(2019)154;

As regards general measures

Asylum procedure and absence of an effective remedy against expulsion

  1. welcomed the ongoing efforts made by the Greek authorities, in concert with the competent EU institutions and the UNHCR, to improve the national asylum system, and the notable increase in the overall rate of granting asylum;
  2. noting, however, with grave concern the increase of arrivals of third country nationals that could adversely affect the functioning of the asylum system and is the reason for the significant increase in the average time taken to register and process asylum applications, and the deficiencies of the asylum appeal procedure which have been reported by the Greek Ombudsman and expert NGOs; called on the authorities to provide information on the asylum appeal procedure and on further measures envisaged or adopted in order to enhance the efficiency of the overall administrative procedure and the effectiveness of existing administrative remedies;

Living conditions of asylum seekers

  1. welcomed the concerted efforts made and the measures taken to ensure decent accommodation, provision of welfare and healthcare services, access to the labour market and to education for asylum seekers;
  2. took into account the continuing and increasing arrival of third country nationals, including asylum seekers; noted, furthermore the concerns expressed by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and NGOs that the living conditions of asylum seekers have remained critical, despite the commendable efforts and the achievements of the authorities to date; therefore called on the authorities to continue and step up their efforts;
  3. also called on the authorities to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on the need to further enhance the provision of health care services to asylum seekers and irregular migrants in detention;

Reception and protection of unaccompanied minors

  1. welcomed the adoption in 2018 of the law on guardianship and invited the authorities to proceed to its prompt implementation in order to put in place a comprehensive and efficient system of reception and protection of all unaccompanied minors;
  2. expressed, however, concern about the inadequate number of suitable places available in accommodation facilities for minors and the significant number of minors placed in “protective custody” or in reception centres at the borders, and called on the authorities to intensify their efforts to increase the capacity of accommodation suitable for unaccompanied minors;

Conditions of detention

  1. noted with satisfaction that domestic case-law has evolved to allow irregular migrants, including unaccompanied minors, to complain about their conditions of detention; noted also the relevant case-law of the Court and decided to close their supervision of this issue;
  2. while noting with satisfaction that certain immigration detention facilities visited by the CPT in 2018 provided decent conditions, expressed serious concern at the fact that a number of other immigration facilities and police stations seem to be below Convention standards, and that the detention of unaccompanied minors persists;
  3. recalling the Court’s case-law and recommendations of the CPT, called on the authorities to end the practice of detaining unaccompanied minors and transfer them without delay to a (semi-) open establishment specialised for juveniles;
  4. invited the authorities to give effect to the recommendations made by the CPT and to improve the conditions in immigration detention facilities, including by providing adequate health-care services;
  5. invited the authorities to keep the Committee regularly informed about developments on all of the above-mentioned issues;
  6. decided to resume examination of these cases at their September 2020 DH meeting.

 


 

1348th meeting, 4-6 June 2019 (DH)

Human rights

 

H46-9 M.S.S. and Rahimi groups v. Greece

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments

Reference documents

DH-DD(2019)372, CM/ResDH(2014)272, CM/Del/Dec(2017)1288/H46-15

 

Application Case Judgment of Final on Indicator for the classification
M.S.S. GROUP
30696/09 M.S.S. 21/01/2011 Grand Chamber Structural and complex problem
53709/11 A.F. 13/06/2013 07/10/2013
53608/11 B.M. 19/12/2013 19/03/2014
58164/10 BYGYLASHVILI 25/09/2012 25/12/2012
22910/10 CHKHARTISHVILI 02/05/2013 02/08/2013
2134/12+ DE LOS SANTOS AND DE LA CRUZ 26/06/2014 26/09/2014
78456/11 F.H. 31/07/2014 31/10/2014
70427/11 HORSHILL 01/08/2013 01/11/2013
32927/03 KAJA 27/07/2006 27/10/2006
26452/11 TATISHVILI 31/07/2014 31/10/2014
63542/11 AL.K. 11/12/2014 11/03/2015
63493/11 H.H. 09/10/2014 09/01/2015
76951/12 CHAZARYAN AND OTHERS 16/07/2015 16/07/2015
58399/11 A.Y. 05/11/2015 05/02/2016
7811/15 TENKO 21/07/2016 21/07/2016
46558/12 S.G. 18/05/2017 18/05/2017
39034/12 A.E.A. 15/03/2018 15/06/2018
RAHIMI GROUP
8687/08 RAHIMI 05/04/2011 05/07/2011 Complex problem
36657/11 BARJAMAJ 02/05/2013 02/08/2013
71825/11 HOUSEIN 24/10/2013 24/01/2014

Case description

These cases concern the degrading treatment of the applicants (asylum seekers or irregular migrants, including unaccompanied minors) on account of their conditions of detention[1] (such as overcrowding, lack of bed/mattress, insufficient ventilation, lack of regular access to toilets or sanitary facilities, lack of outdoor exercise, unsuitable food or inadequate allowances for food, etc.) in various detention facilities (such as police stations, premises of authorities in charge of immigration or foreign nationals, border posts or the special holding facility at the Athens International Airport) (violations of Article 3).

Some of these cases[2] also concern the asylum-seeking applicants’ degrading treatment due to their living conditions in Greece, resulting from the authorities’ inaction in respect of the situation in which they found themselves: living on the street, without access to sanitary facilities and without means of providing for their essential needs (violations of Article 3).

Lastly, some cases in the M.S.S. group concern violations of the applicants’ right to an effective remedy on two grounds (violations of Article 13 taken in conjunction with Article 3):

–   lack of an effective remedy against expulsion, due to deficiencies in the examination of the applicants’ asylum applications, notably lack of thorough and timely examination of the merits of asylum applications, and the risks incurred in case of expulsion to countries of origin;[3] or

–   lack of an effective remedy to complain about the conditions of detention.[4]

Similar Article 3 issues arise in other cases but are dealt with in a separate group (S.D. group) which also concerns immigration detention issues under Article 5. Details are footnoted below.[5]

Status of execution

Individual measures:

M.S.S.: The applicant obtained refugee status in Belgium. Thus the examination of the individual measures in this case was closed in June 2012. According to information provided by the authorities on 29 March 2019, all applicants (23 applicants in 15 cases) in respect of whom violations were found on account of conditions of detention or of lack of an effective remedy to challenge conditions of detention have been released.

As regards the other applicants in respect of whom violations were found on account of their living conditions (AL.K, F.H, S.G and Rahimi):

AL.K.: The applicant’s asylum application was rejected at both instances and on 20 February 2017 he was ordered to leave the country within 90 days.

F.H. and Rahimi: The applicants were granted international protection.

S.G.: The asylum application lodged by the applicant was considered tacitly withdrawn because the applicant did not request the renewal of his asylum-seeker card.

As regards the applicants in respect of whom violations were found due to the lack of an effective remedy to challenge their expulsion, together with the shortcomings of the asylum procedure (A.E.A and A.Y):

A.E.A.: The asylum application lodged by the applicant was considered tacitly withdrawn because the applicant did not request the renewal of his asylum-seeker card.

A.Y.: No application for asylum has been pending in respect of the applicant.

The Committee was informed of the payment of just satisfaction in the case A.E.A on 6 May 2019. Therefore, this payment will be considered final on 6 June 2019. All the applicants in the remaining cases have received the just satisfaction awarded by the Court.

General measures:[6]

At its latest examination in June 2017, the Committee invited the authorities in particular: a) to elaborate, in cooperation with other stakeholders a plan for the registration and processing of asylum applications, so that they are processed within a reasonable timeframe, b) to develop a strategy securing the full protection of unaccompanied minors on the basis of an effective guardianship system, c) to improve conditions of detention in all detention facilities including by providing adequate health-care services and d) to ensure, as a matter of priority, that alternatives to the detention of minors are found and that where, exceptionally, minors are detained, they are held separately from adults and in conditions adapted to their vulnerable situation.

In reply to the above-mentioned decisions, on 28 March 2019 (DH-DD(2019)372) the Greek authorities provided extensive information that may be summarised as follows:

  1. Asylum procedures:

The authorities noted that measures to enhance asylum procedures were taken by Law No. 4375/2016 which was amended by Law No. 4540/2018. 12 Regional Asylum Offices and 11 Autonomous Asylum Units are now staffed with 681 employees and operate throughout Greece. 133 further employees are planned to be hired in 2019. Recently-hired personnel were trained by members of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in all issues concerning registration and examination of asylum applications as well as the legislation regulating these issues. All staff undergo continuous training.

Furthermore, the authorities noted that third-country nationals and asylum applicants are informed about access to asylum procedures and their rights, and are provided with free interpretation services.

Between 7 June 2013, when the Asylum Service started operating, and 31 December 2018, 204,097 asylum applications were registered, out of which 58,642 were submitted in 2017 and 66,969 in 2018. There was a 14.9% increase of applications lodged in 2017 and a 14.2% increase in 2018.

In 2017, 51,599 decisions were issued at first instance. Of these, 22,450 rejected applications as inadmissible and 6,668 terminated the procedure because of explicit or implicit withdrawal of applications. 46% of the 22,481 decisions on the merits granted international protection.

In 2018, 46,198 decisions were issued at first instance. Of these, 4,834 rejected asylum applications as inadmissible and 10,616 terminated the procedure because of explicit or implicit withdrawal of applications. 49.4% of the 30,748 decisions on the merits granted international protection.

The average time between pre -registration and full registration of asylum applications was 122.46 days in 2017 and 59.72 days in 2018. The average time from full registration to delivery of a decision at first instance was 153.27 days in 2017 and 235.41 days in 2018. As regards the special border zone procedure, the average time between pre-registration and full registration was 23.9 days in 2017 and 27.66 days in 2018.

In 2017, 4,542 asylum applications were lodged by persons in detention while in 2018 the number was 7,009. For this category, the average time from pre-registration to delivery of a decision was 125.25 days in 2017 and 145.41 days in 2018.

As regards asylum applications by unaccompanied minors, 2,640 applications were lodged in 2017 and 2,639 in 2018; the average time from pre-registration to delivery of a decision was 258.14 days in 2017 and 403.36 days in 2018. In 2017, 1,672 decisions concerning applications lodged by minors were issued at first instance, of which 738 rejected applications as inadmissible and 251 terminated the procedure because of explicit or implicit withdrawal of the applications. Out of the 683 decisions on the merits, 188 granted international protection. In 2018, 1,839 decisions concerning applications lodged by minors were issued at first instance, of which 350 rejected applications as inadmissible and 581 terminated the procedure because of explicit or implicit withdrawal of the applications. Out of the 908 decisions on the merits, 345 granted international protection.

At second instance, during 2017-2018, 26,999 appeals were lodged, of which 847 were granted. Interpretation and free legal assistance are also provided at second instance. As regards backlog cases (asylum applications lodged before 7 June 2013 at second instance), 83,002 of the backlog cases have been processed while 430 cases remain to be examined. 42,595 decisions were issued rejecting applications, 27,914 were issued discontinuing the asylum and 12,493 were issued granting international protection.

The Greek authorities stressed that the unprecedented increase in migration flows during 2015-2016 exerted tremendous pressure on the national asylum system, resulting in longer periods for registration and processing of asylum applications.

Lastly, the Greek authorities underlined that, despite the significant progress made in living conditions of asylum seekers, in particular those concerning minors, conditions of detention and the asylum procedure, the country remains under extreme migratory pressure. According to the authorities, the continuing increase of asylum applications which increases the average processing time and therefore prolongs inevitably the provision of accommodation and other services to asylum seekers, are present challenges that are constantly changing randomly and make the magnitude of needs unpredictable. . Hence, there is a need for revision of the EU asylum system, to ensure that the responsibilities are shared by all EU member States.

  1. Living conditions of asylum seekers:

According to the aforementioned communication from the Greek authorities, the situation concerning asylum seekers has completely changed since January 2011 when the M.S.S. judgment was delivered. Consequently, the examination of the living conditions of asylum seekers should be limited to those asylum seekers whose situation is similar to the situation examined by the Court in the M.S.S. group of cases, while the situation of third country nationals residing in Reception and Identification Centres (RICs – see below) cannot be examined from the point of view of the living conditions of asylum seekers as assessed in the M.S.S. judgment.

Accommodation, food, clothing and healthcare services are provided to asylum seekers under three basic schemes: a) RICs at the entry points, b) hospitality centres managed by non-profit organisations or international organisations, and c) houses, apartments or hotels leased in the framework of housing programmes. Following the influx of one million third-country nationals since 2015, the Greek authorities, in cooperation with the European Commission and UNHCR, managed to set up six RICs on the Eastern Aegean islands and in the Evros region, 26 temporary accommodation facilities on the mainland and to lease a number of apartments and hotels to accommodate a large number of asylum seekers. By the end of 2018, 18,369 persons lived in the above 26 accommodation facilities while 29 4799 persons lived in apartments and hotel rooms.

Lastly the authorities indicated that by the end of 2018, 11,683 persons lived in the RICs on the Eastern Aegean islands while in September 2018 18,107 persons lived there. The decrease in the number of asylum seekers living in RICs was due to the relocation of 29,090 persons belonging to vulnerable groups from the islands to the mainland. On February 2019, the progress achieved in providing accommodation and other services to asylum seekers was pointed out by the UNCHR Representative in Greece who stressed that since 2014 the accommodation capacity increased from 1,000 to 27,000 accommodation places in apartments and 20,000 places in hosting centres. Financial support is provided to asylum seekers subject to whether accommodation or other services are available to them.

As regards health care in particular, it is noted that asylum seekers are considered members of a vulnerable group having access to health care either in accommodation facilities or in public hospitals. All asylum seekers are vaccinated.

The Greek authorities have ensured access to education for refugee and migrant children by launching since the school year 2016-2017 a special educational programme which established “Reception /Preparatory Classes for the Education of Refugees” in certain public schools in areas accessible from the various accommodation facilities where asylum seekers reside. The programme aims at facilitating all refugee and migrant children in joining mainstream classes in Greek schools. At the same time, a number of refugee and migrant children were enrolled in Greek schools offering “reception” preparatory classes or in mainstream Greek schools. During the 2017-2018 school year, 7,316 refugee and migrant children were enrolled in the above educational units.

As regards access to labour market, according to legislation promulgated in 2016 and 2018, asylum seekers have access to labour and vocational training programmes under the same conditions as Greek citizens. By the end of 2018, 6,150 beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers were registered in unemployment registers.

III. Reception and protection of unaccompanied minors:

The authorities indicated that providing adequate accommodation and decent living conditions to unaccompanied minors arriving in Greece is one of their priorities. Unaccompanied minors are referred to accommodation centres for minors or to other accommodation centres where there are areas suitably adapted for this purpose, for as long as they stay in the country or until they are placed with a foster family or in supervised lodgings.

In December 2018, the overall capacity of accommodation facilities for minors amounted to 1,959 places, whereas the number of unaccompanied minors amounted to 3,741 (7.2% of whom were under 14). Priority is given to minors under 15 or with health problems. At accommodation centres, minors are provided with food and clothing as well as with healthcare services and the assistance of psychologists and lawyers.

New guardianship system: Under Law No. 4554/2018, a guardian is appointed for every third country or stateless person under the age of 18 who arrives in Greece without being accompanied by a relative or non-relative exercising parental guardianship or custody. The law sets out the terms for the appointment and replacement of a guardian for unaccompanied minors as well as the creation and functions of a Supervisory Guardianship Board.

The guardian has responsibilities which include ensuring decent accommodation, representing and assisting the minor in all judicial and administrative procedures, accompanying the minor to clinics or hospitals and providing access to psychological support, guaranteeing that the minor is safe during his/her their stay in the country and taking care of the minor’s education. The Supervisory Guardianship Board has the competence to assess and define the interest of the unaccompanied minor, where an important decision for the future of the unaccompanied minor is to be taken in the near future (for example, on a non-urgent medical problem, a possible disability, issues related to religious beliefs).  The Council will decide upon a reasoned proposal from the tutor. Additionally, the Department for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors at the National Centre for Social Solidarity will have the responsibility of guaranteeing safe accommodation for unaccompanied minors and evaluating the quality of services provided in those accommodations. The above guardianship system is planned to be fully operational during 2019.

  1. Conditions of detention:

The authorities noted that 68,112 third-country nationals were arrested on Greek territory during 2017 (66.75% less than in 2016) while 93,367 third-country nationals were arrested during 2018. In 2017, 25,810 return/deportation orders were issued while 32,718 such orders were issued in 2018. Furthermore, the number of new arrivals of third-country nationals who entered in Greece through the land borders with Turkey increased by 170.15% in 2018. Third-country nationals subject to deportation, namely those who did not apply for asylum or whose applications have been definitively rejected, can, under the applicable legislation, be detained.

During 2017-2018, eight pre-return detention centres operated (six of them on the mainland (Amygdaleza, Tavros, Xanthi, Drama, Orestiada and Korinthos) and two on the Eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos and Kos. The authorities indicated that since 2016 asylum seekers arriving on the Eastern Aegean islands are not detained though they are not allowed to leave the islands. However, in order to detain offenders and migrants subject to deportation on Eastern Aegean islands, the two above-mentioned pre-return centres were created on Lesvos and Kos. The overall capacity of the eight pre-return detention centres amounts to 6,417 places, their operational capacity to 3,477 places while the number of detainees on 31 December 2018 was 2,098. The occupancy of the said detention facilities never exceeded their operational capacity.

Pre-return detention centres are tasked with providing detainees with food, clothing and health-care services; the latter is provided by public medical and nursing personnel, or other organisations or agencies. Cases which cannot be handled in the above centres are referred to state-run hospitals. The personal space available to each detainee corresponds at least to four sq. metres, there is outdoor space for activities, three meals are offered per day and direct access to telephones is ensured; areas are set aside for religious worship. All detainees can submit requests to the centre’s director and communicate with lawyers, members of NGOs and other agencies. Information is systematically provided to detainees about their rights and obligations, including their right to communicate with representatives of NGOs or other organisations or agencies. Representatives of NGOs and other agencies have daily access to the centres to communicate with detainees and provide legal assistance, so that detainees have access to the asylum procedure during detention.

Activities related to migrant detention centres are funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union for the period 2014-2020 (National Programme of the area of Home Affairs for the period 2014-2020). In the framework of the implementation of this programme, doctors, nurses, psychologists have been hired and detention facilities have been refurbished.

As regards detention of unaccompanied minors: 571 were detained in 2017 and 608 in 2018 in the above -mentioned pre-return detention centres. They were detained separately from adults in specially designated areas. The detention of minors is decided for as short a period as possible (and not longer than 25 days or in exceptional situations not longer than 45 days) when it is established that alternatives to detention cannot be applied. Unaccompanied minors are kept in detention facilities supervised by the police until they are subsequently transferred to hostel accommodation. While every possible effort is made to trace the minor’s family, a guardian is appointed to ensure the protection of the minor and his/her interests.

As regards the lack of an effective remedy for conditions of detention: The authorities indicated that the Court has held that the remedy provided for by Article 76 of Law No. 3386/2005, as amended in 2010, is an effective remedy to complain about conditions of administrative detention.

Analysis by the Secretariat

Individual measures

It follows from the information provided by the authorities that there are no further individual measures that need to be taken. Therefore, since the implementation of the general measures will continue to be monitored in the remaining cases of the M.S.S. and Rahimi groups, it is proposed that the Committee close the monitoring of the following cases: A.F, B.M, Bygylashvili, Chkhartishvili, De los Santos and De la Cruz, F.H, Horshill, Kaja, Tattishvili, Al.K, H.H, Chazaryan and others, A.Y, Tenko, S.G, Barjamiaj and Housein.

General measures

  1. Asylum procedures

During 2015-2016 Greece received an unprecedented number of third-country nationals, the majority of whom lodged asylum applications. Action was taken by the Greek authorities to respond to this situation, in cooperation with the European Commission and competent agencies of the EU, UNHCR and NGOs. The national asylum system has developed, the number of regional asylum offices and autonomous asylum units has increased, as did the staff of the Asylum Service. The first-instance asylum-granting rate in 2017 was 46% while in 2018 it rose to 49.4%.

It is noted that at second instance the number of appeals granted has been very limited. Out of the total substantive decisions issued in 2018, 2.8% granted refugee status, 1.5% subsidiary protection, 4.5% referred the case for humanitarian protection, and 91% of the decisions were negative.[7]

Also, the Greek Ombudsman in his 2018 report noted that in 2018, the examination of asylum appeals lodged under the earlier asylum legislation (Presidential Decree 114/2010) and still pending continued to be delayed. This was due to the cessation of the Interior Ministry appeal committees which did not operate in 2018 even if this was provided for by Law 4540/2018. The Ombudsman expressed his concern at this situation which places asylum seekers in a precarious legal situation.[8]

As regards legal aid, it is noted that a state-funded legal aid scheme in the appeal procedure, based on a list managed by the Asylum Service, exists in Greece since September 2017. An expert NGO report indicates that the capacity of the second-instance legal aid scheme remains limited. Out of a total of 15,355 appeals lodged in 2018, only 3,351 (21.8%) asylum seekers benefited from the state-funded legal aid scheme.[9] In this respect, however, it should be noted that the Court referred to legal aid for irregular migrants and/or asylum seekers to reject their applications  relating to the asylum procedure or their conditions of detention (see inter alia Moras et al, No. 20/13, § 34, decision of 20/10/2015; Josef and Others, No. 76854/11, §§ 27-28, decision of 24/01/2017).

In its “Recommendations for Greece in 2017” (February 2017)[10], UNHCR stated that progress had been made but significant challenges relating to, in particular, registration and asylum processing, still had to be addressed. More specifically, six months after arrival on the Greek islands, many asylum seekers were still waiting for the full registration and processing of their asylum applications. On the mainland, first-instance decisions for those pre-registered during the summer of 2016 would take approximately two years. Therefore, according to UNHCR, the pace of registration and the lack of capacity fully to process asylum claims within a reasonable timeframe needed to be resolved. It follows from the information provided by the authorities in March 2019 that the average time to register and process an asylum application at first instance has in fact significantly increased.

Furthermore, given that no statistical data have been provided by the authorities concerning the examination of asylum applications on appeal, or about the reasoning of decisions given at second instance rejecting appeals, either on admissibility grounds or on the merits, the authorities could be requested to provide such information so that the Committee may evaluate also the effectiveness of the existing remedy against rejection decisions and the asylum procedure as a whole.

In conclusion, it transpires from the above-mentioned information that, despite the significant efforts made by Greece in the context of very pressing migration flows during the recent years, asylum procedures still show a number of significant challenges that require the adaptation of the measures taken to the new data.

  1. Living conditions of asylum seekers

As noted by the Court at § 250 of the M.S.S. judgment, the obligation of the State to provide accommodation and decent material conditions to impoverished asylum-seekers has now entered into positive law, namely the EU “Reception Directive” 2003/09 which has been transposed to Greek law. According to the Reception Directive (now Directive 2013/33) living conditions of asylum seekers include: a) material reception conditions, namely housing, food, and clothing, provided in kind, or as financial allowances or in vouchers, and a daily expenses allowance; b) health care; and c) access to the labour market.

It emerges from the information provided by the Greek authorities that in December 2018, 47,848 asylum seekers were provided with accommodation, welfare and healthcare services on the mainland. It is also noted that under the EU funded ESTIA programme managed by UNHCR, as of March 2019 approximately 69,000 eligible refugee and asylum seekers had received cash assistance in 111 locations in Greece, amounting to €6.9 million.[11] Nevertheless, the number of available places for accommodation is not clarified in the updated action plan. It can be deduced from the reference made to the statement by the UNHCR Representative in Greece that in January 2019 the accommodation places available amounted to 47,000. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (‘the Commissioner’) noted in her report published in November 2018[12] that, in respect of living conditions of asylum seekers on the mainland, despite certain positive developments, the situation remained critical and might deteriorate rapidly if transfers of asylum seekers from the Aegean islands were not combined with both further significant increase in the capacities of the mainland’s reception facilities and an improvement of their conditions. In the same report, the Commissioner noted the need to further enhance migrants’ health care system, migrant children’s education attendance and to facilitate migrants’ access to the labour market.

Despite the positive information provided by the authorities indicating that the number of third-country nationals in RICs has been reduced due to transfers from the Eastern Aegean islands to the mainland, in a communication received on 16 April 2019 (DH-DD(2019)467), the Greek Helsinki Monitor and Refugee Rights Europe indicated a number of serious shortcomings notably on the RICs of the islands of Chios and Lesvos. The shortcomings concern, inter alia, overcrowding in camps, unsanitary living conditions therein and very inadequate access to health services. In a communication received on 24 April 2019 (DH-DD(2019)515), the Greek Refugee Council expressed similar concerns and noted that as regards the mainland, although the capacity has increased, the country-wide shortage of accommodation is leading to the overcrowding of many mainland camps while sexual and gender based violence is a major risk in some mainland sites.

It is noted that the Court has not examined the living conditions in the reception centres of the Aegean islands. In the O.S.A. and Others and J.R. and Others, the Court dismissed the applicants’ complaints concerning their conditions of detention in the reception center Vial, in Chios (hotspot) between March and May 2016.

It transpires from the above information that the Greek authorities, in cooperation with the European Commission, UNHCR and other stakeholders, have achieved significant progress in ensuring decent accommodation as well as welfare and healthcare services to asylum seekers. The measures taken to safeguard access to education for migrant children and to the labour market for asylum seekers are also important. However, the authorities could be invited to keep the Committee regularly updated on developments concerning living conditions of asylum seekers and be encouraged to take further steps in line with the recommendations made notably by UNHCR and the Commissioner to ensure adequate accommodation and decent living conditions for asylum seekers.

III. Reception and protection of unaccompanied minors

UNHCR noted in the factsheet published in March 2019[13] that although there are 3,773 unaccompanied minors in Greece, only 1,085 places are available in shelters and apartments. As a result, many minors spend lengthy periods in “protective custody” (in police stations) or in reception centres at the borders waiting for a place in a shelter appropriate to their age, while others have limited options but to stay in informal housing or risk becoming homeless.

The Commissioner noted in her above-mentioned report that, as of 15 August 2018, there were 3,290 unaccompanied minors in Greece, while there were only 1,191 available places in dedicated shelters or supported, independent-living apartments. Among the 2,241 children registered on the waiting list, 127 were deprived of liberty under the regime of ‘’protective custody’’, 296 were hosted in RICs, 161 in open temporary accommodation facilities, 254 in “safe zones’’, 413 in hotels, 437 were reported as homeless and 254 lived in informal housing arrangements. For almost 300 of these minors no location was reported.

The Commissioner expressed her concern about the reported poor shelter conditions and the lack of social support that most unaccompanied migrant children experience in Greece as well as about the deprivation of liberty of those detained under the “protective custody” regime. The Commissioner recommended that the Greek authorities immediately stop the detention of unaccompanied migrant children and take further measures to improve the living conditions of unaccompanied minors and ensure their full access to education.

The adoption in 2018 of the law on guardianship is a positive measure. The authorities could be invited to proceed to its prompt implementation and inform the Committee accordingly. Bearing in mind the significant discrepancy between the places available in accommodation facilities suitable for minors and the number of minors living in “protective custody” (police stations) or in reception centres at the borders waiting for a place in a shelter appropriate for their age, the authorities could be invited to address the issue by increasing the accommodation capacity in shelters and apartments suitable for minors and provide them with necessary and adequate welfare and health services.

  1. Conditions of detention

According to the CPT 2018 visit report which was published in February 2019,[14] conditions of detention in the pre-departure centres in Amygdaleza and Pyli were good and an open-door-regime was applied at these two centres. On the contrary, conditions of detention remained very poor at the centre in Moria (Lesbos) where repair works were required and persons detained there were locked in their rooms for around 22 hours per day. At the Fylakio (Evros region) pre-departure centre, the cells were overcrowded and material conditions were found to be unacceptable. Furthermore, the CPT considered decent the conditions of detention at Feres and Soufli (Evros region) Police and Border Guard Stations, including the provision of daily outdoor exercise. However, all other police stations visited were not suitable places to hold asylum seekers and irregular migrants and conditions of detention remained totally inadequate for stays exceeding 24 hours. Despite this, according to the CPT report, police stations throughout Greece were used for holding irregular migrants, including women and young children for prolonged periods.

As regards the provision of health-care in the pre-departure centres visited, the CPT found that the available resources were totally inadequate compared to the needs observed. As regards the detention of minors, the CPT noted that unaccompanied children were still held under the so-called “protective custody” for up to several weeks until their transfer to a dedicated open shelter facility, which is mainly due to the totally insufficient number of open shelters available.

The authorities indicated that 571 unaccompanied minors were detained in 2017 and 608 in 2018. According to the above-mentioned 2017 UNHCR recommendations to Greece and the aforementioned CPT report, accompanied and unaccompanied children are in some circumstances detained in closed reception or police facilities, sometimes with adults. In this context it is noted that in a judgment delivered on 28 February 2019 (H.A. and Others v. Greece), the Court found, inter alia, a violation of Article 3 due to the detention of nine unaccompanied minors in police stations in northern Greece for periods ranging from 21 to 33 days.

In view of the above-mentioned developments, the Greek authorities need to provide information on the measures taken and/or envisaged to: a) improve conditions of detention in all detention facilities where irregular migrants and asylum seekers are detained, including providing adequate health-care services, and b) ensure, as a matter of priority, that alternatives to the detention of minors are found and that, in the exceptional event that they are detained, they are held separately from adults and in suitable conditions corresponding to their vulnerability.

As regards the remedy concerning conditions of detention, as indicated in Memorandum
H/Exec(2014)4-rev, the position of the Greek authorities has been that conditions of detention were part of the lawfulness of detention and could be challenged through Article 76 of Law No. 3386/2005. The European Court has held that this provision constitutes an effective remedy, which must be exhausted before lodging a complaint to the European Court (admissibility decision of 27 January 2017, Paul Josef and Others (Application No. 76854/11)). Therefore, the Committee could consider closing the monitoring of cases involving this violation.

Financing assured: YES

[1] M.S.S., A.F, AL.K, A.Y, B.M, Bygylashvili, Chazaryan and Others, Chkhartishvili, de Los Santos and de La Cruz, F.H, H.H, Horshill, Kaja, Tatishvili and Rahimi.

[2] M.S.S, AL.K, F.H, S.G, Rahimi.

[3] M.S.S, A.E.A, A.Y.

[4] M.S.S and B.M.

[5] The S.D. and Rahimi groups of cases concern violations of the applicants’ right to liberty on account of their unlawful deprivation of liberty (violations of Article 5 § 1) and absence of judicial review of the lawfulness of their detention (violations of Article 5 § 4).

[6] Information on measures adopted and examined by the Committee between 2011 and 2015 is available in the Notes of the 1288th meeting DH (CM/Notes/1288/H46-15).

[7] ECRE – AIDA, Country Report: Greece, March 2019, https://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf, p.16.

[8] Greek Ombudsman, Annual Report 2018, March 2019, https://www.synigoros.gr/resources/docs/ee2018-p04-119-214-eid-them-enot.pdf, p. 213 (in Greek).

[9] ECRE-AIDA, idem.

[10] https://www.unhcr.org/58d8e8e64.pdf.

[11] UNHCR, Cash Assistance Update, March 2019, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/68816.

[12] Report of the Commissioner following her visit to Greece from 25 to 29 June 2018, 6 November 2018.

[13] UNCHR Fact Sheet Greece 1-31 March 2019, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/69017.

[14] Report on the visit to Greece carried out by CPT from 10 to 19 April 2018, 19 February 2019.


Reports submitted for MMS – Rahimi referred to in the analysis

Greek Helsinki Monitor – Refugee Rights Europe https://search.coe.int/cm/pages/result_details.aspx?objectid=090000168094238b

Greek Council for Refugees https://search.coe.int/cm/pages/result_details.aspx?objectid=0900001680945e4e

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees https://search.coe.int/cm/pages/result_details.aspx?objectid=090000168094238b

Joint NGO call to end financial crisis at UN human rights mechanisms

Joint NGO call to end financial crisis at UN human rights mechanisms

Date : 2019.05.29

In response to the critical funding situation affecting the UN human rights system due to delays in UN member states’ payments and cuts of the UN budget, which can lead to postponement of six human rights treaty bodies’ sessions in autumn 2019 including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), IMADR joined the call to UN member states.

In the letter, over 350 NGOs urge UN member states to:

  • Pay their assessed contributions without further delay;
  • Prioritise securing adequate funding for the UN’s human rights pillar; and
  • Initiate discussions to assure that the UN human rights mechanisms
    are not disproportionately affected by over-all cuts to the UN budget.

Read the full text below or download the letter with signatories.


To:
All Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York
Cc:
UN Secretary General
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Chairpersons of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies
Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures

28 May 2019

Open NGO letter regarding the critical funding gap affecting UN human rights mechanisms and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

It is with a sense of urgency that we convey our deep concern regarding the critical funding situation affecting the UN’s human rights mechanisms and OHCHR. We understand that the combination of delays in payments of UN member states’ assessed contributions to the regular budget and the 25% cut to travel of UN representatives, including treaty body experts and Special Procedure mandate holders, and other budget cuts (2018-2019) may adversely impact on the capacity of various human rights mechanisms to carry out
their mandates effectively.

In April, the Chairpersons of the 10 human rights treaty bodies were informed that due to the financial situation, the autumn 2019 sessions of six treaty bodies may need to be cancelled.[1] Not only is the cancellation of treaty body sessions deeply worrying as it may involve cancellation of reviews already scheduled and delay decisions on individual communications pending before the Committees but it also sends a troubling message ahead of the 2020 treaty body strengthening discussions. This unprecedented development would come as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

We understand that other independent expert mechanisms such as the Special Procedures, and other mechanisms created by the Human Rights Council such as Fact-Finding Missions and Commissions of Inquiry, may also be hampered in carrying out their mandates to monitor and investigate human rights violations.

As of 10 May, only 44 UN member states had paid all their assessments due to the UN. We would like to commend Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Malaysia, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, Samoa, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sweden, Switzerland and Tuvalu for having done so.[2] 98 member states had paid their regular budget assessments by 20 May 2019.

The failure to pay assessed contributions is only the latest in a worrying trend of shortfalls and cuts affecting the UN budget allocated to its human rights mechanisms. In the 2018-2019 budget the General Assembly made adjustments to reduce the resources for experts by 15 per cent, reduce the travel of representatives by 25 per cent, and reduce resources for travel of staff by 10 per cent[3], all without taking into account the disproportionate effect these decisions would have on the UN’s human rights mechanism. Only 3.7 per cent
of the total UN regular budget is currently allocated to OHCHR[4]. We are extremely concerned by reports that the funding gap may affect the functioning of OHCHR and the human rights mechanisms in 2020 and beyond.

Against the worrying background of a global pushback against the promotion and protection of human rights, we urge all UN member states to:

  • Pay their assessed contributions without further delay, unless they have already done so, in order to assure the functioning of the UN’s human rights mechanisms.
  • Prioritise securing adequate funding for the UN’s human rights pillar, with the promotion and protection of human rights being also indispensable to development, peace and security.
  • Initiate, in due time ahead of the 2020-2021 budget negotiations, discussions on how to reverse the trend of reduced regular budget for OHCHR and assuring that the UN’s human rights mechanisms are not disproportionately affected by over-all cuts to the UN budget, including by restoring the budget allocation for travel of representatives for these mechanisms.

 

[1] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24621&LangID=E
[2]  http://undocs.org/en/A/73/443/Add.1, para. 26 and https://www.un.org/en/ga/contributions/honourroll.shtml accessed on 27 May 2019.
[3] https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/gaab4270.doc.htm
[4] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/FundingBudget.aspx