The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

New Asylum Proposals

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that I had used the wrong word in this post. I used the word “trafficker” when it should be “smuggler”. Thank you for pointing out the mistake. I have corrected it below

The less than 1% recognition rate of asylum seekers in Greece (the lowest in Europe) may be about to become even less (if that’s possible!)

New asylum rules which are being put forward by the government would force asylum seekers to take their rejected claims to the Council of State. Only if they manage to overturn the original rejection, would they be able to submit a new claim. This would also mean that they would have to hire lawyers making it a difficult and expensive process.

From the Athens News

The elimination of the [appeals procedure] will deny asylum seekers the right of a genuine appeal,” the local UNHCR branch explained in a statement

The United Nations refugee Council in Athens has critisised the new proposals

In a 10-page report published in April 2008, the UNHCR said asylum seekers returned to Greece are “automatically detained” and interviewed in a language they do not understand and without being counselled on their rights during the asylum process.

What this means in real terms…

You will be one of the lucky less than 1% that is granted asylum on first application

OR

You have paid vast amounts of money to smugglers to get you to Greece. When you get here, you will try and process an asylum claim which will almost automatically be rejected. You will have no money to hire a lawyer so you will be deported.

OR

You will have paid vast amounts of money to smugglers to get you to Greece. When you get here, you will try and process an asylum claim which will almost automatically be rejected. You then manage to find enough money to hire a lawyer and take your appeal to the Council of State. They might (chances are they won’t but let’s say for the sake of argument) overturn the original rejection. You will then file another asylum claim which will almost automatically be rejected and you will be deported.

Like I said some years back (when the percentage of successful asylum claims here was a little higher at 1.9% ! ), it is best to avoid Greece if you are looking to escape torture, persecution, war, famine or oppression.


Read the full article at the Athens News here.

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9 Comments

  1. Xenos
    June 2, 2009    

    The correct word is “smugglers” and not “traffickers”, since most irregular migrants to Greece are not victims of trafficking.

  2. Stassa
    June 2, 2009    

    A number of them are expected to work illegally, with very low wages and no social insurance. In that sense it’s a slave trade.

  3. Xenos
    June 3, 2009    

    There are precise legal definitions of smuggling and trafficking, and it is important not to allow governments to claim that there is trafficking when there is not. Although there are immigrants with low wages, there are also Greeks with low wages. Some immigrants earn good money, especially when their work is verging on criminal; a few earn good money from honest work, too. The situation is very complex.

    The social insurance issue is serious, but it also affects EU nationals. If political corruption had not permeated the social insurance system, there would not be such serious problems with it. But all of this is nothing to do with trafficking, which is confined to children for begging and women for forced prostitution — mercifully, not such large numbers…

  4. Panagiotis
    June 3, 2009    

    The reality is that we have more immigrants, legal or otherwise, than we can afford. We are not a charity. This state has to keep social cohesion. It is hard enough as it is. More people will only make the situation worse. You will be hard pressed to find a lot of Greek citizens who believe more immigration would be a good thing for Greece. Probably less that the 1% that are granted asylum…

  5. Stassa
    June 3, 2009    

    Because that’s a tough nut to crack apparently. Don’t ask me why, economics is one thing I never “got”. But it’s all becoming a big problem and I don’t see anyone solving it. Someone, somewhere, in the whole EU must have the talent to propose and implement a solution. So where is it?

    Despite our nations’ nominal adherence to human rights treaties, immigrants, whether illegal or legal are routinely deprived of basic human rights, or have them throttled by xenophobic attitudes they encounter in their everyday lives. Apparently, enough people are making a large enough profit out of that, otherwise “the laws of the market” would have stopped it. Er. So I gather.

    Xenos,
    “Black employment” (as in “black market”, etc) is a much bigger problem than you make it. Immigration, both legal and not has proved to be little more than a modern slave trade for many people. And as about the trafficking of women and children, both are put into sex work. Children are not just made to beg. There’s data, I’ve been following it for a while. There are parties who claim that all is well and the damn liberals keep overplaying the issue, but that’s just like, you know, climate change denial. Conservative populism and whatnot.

  6. Stassa
    June 4, 2009    

    Civil rights are actually a subset of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My understanding is that the expression “civil rights” (or “political rights”) is mostly used in the US, while “human rights” mostly in Europe, for political reasons that end up creating a confusion. “Civil rights” is applied to people who are considered to have their “basic human rights” (as I put it) secure, and are only deprived of life’s little luxuries (like education, health care, housing, employment and so on). However, when we are discussing people sold into slavery, including sex slavery, or living under the conditions of the refugees in Patra for example, then I think “human rights” better describes what they are deprived of. These people are treated like animals, not just second-class citizens (like “legal” immigrants are).

    But surely we’re splitting hairs here? The thing is that we have a problem because a whole bunch of people live in our cities in conditions that are (or at least should be) unacceptable. The question is: “what kind of world do we want to live in?”. Do we want to live in a world where people are carted off around the globe to serve as our slaves, basically? Civil or human rights, natural, god-given or man-made, call them what you will, the point is that our Westernd societies understand the need to legislate towards a world that is humane and fair, at least as we understand “humane” and “fair”. And the situation of immigrants and refugees, in our societies, is neither.

  7. Stassa
    June 4, 2009    

    Sorry, I do tend to go off on tangents at times :)

    My point, on your comment, was rather this: “Civil rights are actually a subset of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as such are no more or less automatic than any other subset of human rights.”

    For the record, I rather agree that “natural human rights are nonsense on stilts”, as in, they are not god-given, but man-made and must be enshrined in law and enforced, instead of vaguely invoked at will, in order for them to have any validity. When I discuss “human rights” I usually take a minute to go over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, or the Yogjakarta Principles, or even the Greek Constitution (er, no link… I just google them :). It helps avoid confusions like “It’s my right to call for the extermination of Jews” and so on 😉

  8. Travlos Konstantinos
    June 4, 2009    

    “My understanding is that the expression “civil rights” (or “political rights”) is mostly used in the US, while “human rights” mostly in Europe, for political reasons that end up creating a confusion.”

    My bad then in that I may had confused civil rights with citizen rights (probably because initially the word civil meant exactly that, and now the term has changed meaning). I think that we agree that even if civil rights are a subset of human rights, and thus automatic, citizens rights are not and should not be automatic (i.e available to people who are not citizens)

    . But then that raises the question of what is civil and what is a citizen right? I think lack of clarity on this has lead many typically well meaning people to the ranks of anti-immigration since they see demands for equal rights for immigrants as essentially demands for citizen rights without citizenship.

    Of course the fact that in Greece the civil and the state are hard to disaggragate doesn’t help either. Also there is a tug of war between people who want to expand human/civil rights to incorporate citizen rights (thus essentially nullifying citizenship and paving the way for world government [or anarchy], with attended negative and positive consequences) and those who wish to keep them separate, or incorporate civil or human rights into citizen rights (typically nationalists).

    I tend to be in the middle. I still see a use for states in the world (At the very least as a stop for world dictatorship) and thus wouldn’t want to see citizen rights totally . So it may be useful to clarify what one means by human, civil or citizen rights.

    For example:
    Is taking part in a government sponsored welfare program a human, civil, or citizen right?

    Is electing state officials are human, civil, or citizen right?

    Ultimately it seems to me that citizen rights are becoming restricted to that of vote and voted (???????? ??? ??????????, essentially a Heinleinian view of rights, as in Starship Troopers [the book not the crappy movie) which is funny as Heinlein was a conservative:) ) and even there their is some push to disaggregation of local elections from citizen rights and incorporation of them to civil rights. Which then raises the whole question of what

    Again it doesn’t help that civil rights used to mean citizen rights and something distinct from human rights. Neither does it help that there is a push for citizen rights to take on the prejortaive menaing of state rights.

    Ah well, I know that either end will lead to dictatorship, so I can kinda say a metaphysical I told you so :)

  9. Oath Taken
    June 4, 2009    

    Ultimately it seems to me that citizen rights are becoming restricted to that of vote and voted (???????? ??? ??????????, essentially a Heinleinian view of rights, as in Starship Troopers [the book not the crappy movie) which is funny as Heinlein was a conservative:) ) and even there their is some push to disaggregation of local elections from citizen rights and incorporation of them to civil rights.

    RAH’s view of citizenship in Starship Troopers includes the responsibility (compulsory) of military service. That is to be able to have a say via voting or be elected to any public office you had to serve in the armed forces (men and women alike). Clearly pacifists as well as people too disabled to serve were permanently excluded from the voting rolls. The society RAH envisions in ST is the closest to a futuristic Sparta ever written about
    AFAIK. Not particularly the type of society a liberal would strive for. And of course the book reflected RAH’s early political conservatism – as opposed to his being a total pervert.

    Finally the part about “infinite capability of sustaining a good lifestyle for all people in Greece” made my day – to find in this day and age libertarian optimists displaying an Adam Smith level of conviction goes beyond the comical.

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