The German-based PRO ASYL (National Working Group for Refugees) conducted research into Greece’s asylum procedures between October 20th and 28th 2008. The following report details the findings of Karl Kopp, the Director of European Affairs. I wanted to post it in full but I don’t have the time to clean up the formatting in the pdf to make it readable on the blog.
Please take the time to download and read the article in full. It is pretty shocking to see the absolute failure of the asylum “procedure” here in Greece laid out in a single document. From simply being unable to cope to absolute obstruction, police brutality and illegal activity.
If you have any problems, downloading or viewing the article, please contact me at thedeviousdiva and I will send you an unformatted text document.
Some introductory things that I would like to point out from the document (sorry about the format problems!):
Greece is unable to meet current asylum requirements
For months, thousands of protection seekers had tried in vain to claim asylum. They were
turned away. “Come back in two months,“ asylum seekers were told at the entrance. This policy of closed doors means that people wishing to claim asylum cannot enter the building and, therefore, have no access to asylum procedures. As a result, people seeking protection are at risk of arrest.
On 27.10.2008, the Greek Ombudsman published a 13-page document showing how access to asylum is denied or obstructed. The current “humanitarian crisis” says the report, has, above all, exposed the impotence and structural shortcomings of the Greek administration.This “structural malfunction” was particularly incomprehensible because Greece had been processing refugee and migrant claims for some 15 years now. Coincidentally, an Ombudsman delegation visited Petrou Ralli Street on 3.10.2008 and found that the Central Immigration and Asylum Authority had ceased to accept asylum applications for “an unspecified period“. The Ombudsman had already criticised the obstruction of access to asylum procedures in a number of previous reports. Asylum seekers had a basic right to enter the building and use asylum procedures. Refusals to accept asylum applications placed those seeking protection in great danger. These individuals faced arrest and deportation. The centralised Greek system for asylum applications and processing “ran completely counter to the basic principle of political asylum“.
In Greece, individual reasons are not given for rejecting asylum applications. A study carried out by the UNHCR has proved that negative decisions never refer to the reasons why asylum was requested. There is no discussion of the facts, no detailed legal reasoning. In 2007, 25,113 asylum applications were filed in Greece. A first instance decision was issued in 20,692 cases. In 20,684 cases, the decision was negative. Refugee status was granted in just eight cases. In a further 52 cases “humanitarian status“ was extended. This status must be extended annually. The Greek Ministry of the Interior, for its part, includes such extensions in its statistics but the UNHCR does not include them in its recognition rate data.
and on and on and on. Please download and read this. I will try and post other details from the file over the next few days (if I have the chance.).. but you could just download it and read !