I was inspired by a comment from merhan who called for some action from me on asylum in Greece. I have decided to start a blog/website/facebook campaign for proper asylum procedures here. I am currently designing the logo for it and here is what I have come up with:
The “LESS THAN 1%” comes from the ACTUAL number of successful asylum applications here. All design suggestions are very welcome. Please note: I will not be using this particular photograph because I don’t have copyright. Suggestions for images are also very welcome.
My aim is to publicise the issues affecting asylum seekers here in Greece and to provide the logo and links for people to display on their pages. The logo (which will be available in different sizes) will be linked to a special page on this blog dedicated to fighting for correct and proper asylum processes in this country. I hope to have a petition on that page that will be available for signatures. That petition (if I can generate enough interest) will be sent to all the relevant authorities here in Greece and the rest of the world.
If anyone has any ideas for launching this campaign, I’d love to hear from you.
If anyone has any relevant photographs (of asylum seekers etc) that I can use for the logo, please let me know.
If anyone has any advice or can offer any help, please let me know.
Any thoughts, ideas, information (specific to asylum practices in Greece) would all be very much appreciated.
Should there be a Greek version of the logo and text? Can anyone help me with that ?
Please read the article below which gives an overview of the current asylum issues. I have covered many of them but I would like to use this as the basis of the campaign (especially the demands in bold)
Thank you in advance for your continuing support of this blog and of human rights in Greece. I look forward to your contributions.
Spotlight on Greece – EU asylum lottery under fire
In an open letter sent to the European Commission and the 27 Member States ECRE, an alliance of refugee groups across Europe, calls for measures to be taken to safeguard the rights of asylum seekers entering the EU via Greece. Greece has the lowest rate of asylum-seeker application approval in the European Union. It gave the green light to only 0.04% of requests last year, 0.05% in 2006 and recognised only 39 and 11 refugees in 2005 and 2004 respectively. Afghans and Iraqis fleeing war make up the bulk of those who seek asylum in Greece, fearing political persecution in their countries.
Under the so-called Dublin system, the first EU Member State that an asylum seeker enters should be the one to examine the application. “By requiring that those fleeing persecution must claim asylum in the first EU country they reach, the Dublin system fails to take account of the fact that a person’s chance of being recognised as a refugee varies hugely from one EU country to another. Greece is not a safe place for those in need of protection” said Bjarte Vandvik Secretary General of ECRE.
On 7 February 2008, Norway took the decision to suspend the Dublin system and examine the applications of all asylum seekers who had passed through Greece on their way to Norway. The Norwegian authorities’ decision followed new information about the violation of asylum seekers’
rights in Greece. Germany has stopped transferring separated children back to Greece and other states are also reviewing their policies on whether it is safe to return asylum seekers there. ECRE calls on all Member States to follow the example of Norway by immediately suspending Dublin transfers to Greece.
The rights of asylum seekers in Greece are routinely violated. Ahmed is an asylum seeker from Iraq. He told us that he first fled to Syria, then Turkey before finally reaching Greece, where he was arrested, beaten by police and detained for one month on a remote island. Before being released from prison, Ahmed agreed to have his fingerprints taken on the understanding that it would not prevent him from lodging an asylum request in another EU country. Since Ahmed was homeless and harassed by the police he decided to contact a smuggler to help him travel to Sweden, where he was told that he would have to be returned to Greece because his fingerprints had been taken there. To avoid being deported, Ahmed fled to Norway. “I ask for your mercy because of all the obstacles that I have experienced”.
The current situation in Greece is just one symptom of more fundamental and far-reaching flaws
inherent in the Dublin system as highlighted in a new ECRE report. ECRE’s findings reveal the
injustices of the Dublin system, which fails to protect the rights of asylum seekers because it is based on the false assumption that there is a level playing field of protection across the EU.
ECRE calls on the European Commission to take account of the recommendations in its report
when proposing amendments to the Dublin Regulation later this year. These include measures to:
Suspend transfers to states that cannot guarantee a full and fair examination of asylum claims
or proper reception standards.
Better ensure the reunification of family members.
Improve solidarity and the sharing of resources between states, including a financial solidarity fund and the use of expert support teams.
Introduce a special responsibility determination procedure for cases involving children and other vulnerable groups, focusing on their best interests and special needs.
As well as being unfair, the Dublin rules are also inefficient, resource-intensive and an obstacle to
genuine sharing of responsibility between members states. ECRE has long advocated replacing the
Dublin regime with a system that safeguards the rights of refugees and ensures responsibility sharing in processing applications between Member States. “Ten years on, the Dublin system still isn’t achieving its aim – thus failing refugees and Member States. The EU can surely find a better system than the current one which bounces vulnerable refugees around Europe like ping pong balls, with devastating consequences for those unlucky enough to land in countries which lack proper asylum systems” added Bjarte Vandvik.