new report on detention in Greece by amnesty international +++ European Court of Human Rights +++ Greece calls for a suspension of Dublin II
Amnesty International published an new report about the detention of migrants and refugees in Greece on the 27th of July. The full text can be downloaded here, it contains some 60 pages and contains descriptions of many detention centres in Greece.
The introduction is rather outspoken about the need for a decisive and immediate change in Greek migration policy.
The Greek authorities should undertake a comprehensive overhaul of the legislative framework, policies and practices regarding the detention of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers, including in particular the treatment of unaccompanied children.
ai criticises that detention is the only response the Greek state offers to the arrival of migrants and refugees.
[C]urrently, immigration related detention in Greece is used without regard to its necessity or proportionality, and not as a measure of last resort. Asylum-seekers and irregular migrants, including unaccompanied children, are routinely detained at the country’s points of entry and, within three days, are issued with an administrative deportation order. Usually, the deportation order is accompanied by an order for the continuation of detention. No alternatives to detention are examined.
They continue to note that the conditions under which migrants and refugees are detained are unbearable and that police and and related bodies continue to maltreat migrants.
In the vast majority of detention areas visited by Amnesty International delegates, conditions ranged from inadequate to very poor. Among the deficiencies identified were: prolonged detention in facilities designed only for short stays; unaccompanied minors being detained among adults; limited access to medical assistance; overcrowding; lack of hygiene; a lack of products for personal hygiene; lack of exercise; and restricted access to clean water. Amnesty International has continued to receive allegations of ill-treatment by coastguards and police, as well as allegations of inhuman treatment during transfer from one immigration detention centre to another.
And on an end note: The protests of detained migrants and refugees have been noted and do affect public opinion in the long term, even if they don’t bring immediate changes. That should be an encouragement to continue with direct forms of protest inside and outside the detention centres (our links).
Furthermore, the protest by irregular migrants and asylum-seekers in Venna in February 2010 over the length and conditions of detention, the hunger strike by irregular migrants held on Samos in April 2010 in protest at the length of their detention, the lack of transparency for procedures determining their ethnicity and lack of guarantees during deportation, and the poor conditions repeatedly identified at the Athens’ airport detention area illustrate the need for immediate changes in the law and practice of immigration-related detention, as well as actual improvements of conditions in places of detention.
Meanwhile in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights found Greece guilty of massive infringements against the European Convention on Human Rights on the 22nd of July for the detention of the palestinian asylum seeker A.A.
A. had been arrested by the Greek police on the island of Samos. He has stated that he had been maltreated and detained under unbearable conditions in the detention centre of Samos. By that time, the detention centre was an old, run-down building in the centre of the island’s capitol Vathy, which was replaced by the new detention centre on a hill above Vathy in 2007.
Meanwhile in Brussels, the vice minister of citizen protection demanded a temporary suspension of the Dublin II Regulation, during the informal board of ministers of Justice and Home Affairs. This was done during the discussion of the common european asylum system, which at the current stage contains a system of burden sharing. It would be much more important for the system to contain strong rights on family reunification and general provisions that allow refugees to reach the countries of their choice, not be distributed under a beaurocratic measure.