PRO ASYL calls for a sus­pen­si­on of returns and a spee­dy dis­tri­bu­ti­on of pro­tec­tion see­kers

The situa­ti­on of pro­tec­tion see­kers in Greece esca­la­tes dra­ma­ti­cal­ly. To the EU Minis­ters of Inte­rior who are mee­ting in Stock­holm the Vice-Pre­si­dent of the EU Com­mis­si­on, Jac­ques Bar­rot, will pro­po­se a redis­tri­bu­ti­on of pro­tec­tion see­kers from Greece wit­hin Euro­pe. PRO ASYL wel­co­mes this initia­ti­ve.

“Sta­tes like Ger­ma­ny can not stand by any lon­ger. The situa­ti­on in Greece is get­ting total­ly out of con­trol,” says Karl Kopp, direc­tor of Euro­pean Affairs with PRO ASYL. “An unbu­reau­cra­tic and fast dis­tri­bu­ti­on of pro­tec­tion see­kers stran­ded in Greece is a mat­ter of huma­nism and soli­da­ri­ty.”

In brief: detenti­on cen­tres for refu­gees in Greece are burs­t­ing. New­ly arri­ving refu­gees face a hig­her maxi­mum detenti­on peri­od of up to six mon­ths, doub­ling the pre­vious three mon­ths.

More and more fami­lies end up being per­ma­nent­ly homeless. In Athens, radi­cal rightwing mili­ti­as dri­ve refu­gees and migrants from public spaces. Poli­ce bru­ta­li­ty is an ever­y­day rea­li­ty, asyl­um see­kers are detai­ned arbi­tra­ri­ly and the num­ber of docu­men­ted cases of ille­gal push­backs to Tur­key incre­a­ses. Thousands of unac­com­pa­nied minors are roa­ming the coun­try, without shel­ter, without mate­ri­al means and without any pro­tec­tion. End of June the government of Prime minis­ter Kara­man­lis has abolis­hed the second instance of the asyl­um pro­ce­du­re.

EU mem­ber sta­tes from the north have signi­fi­cant­ly con­tri­bu­t­ed to the dire situa­ti­on of refu­gees in Greece. For years, they have neglec­ted their respon­si­bi­li­ty for the pro­tec­tion of refu­gees, out­sour­cing it to the sta­tes at the exter­nal bor­ders of the Euro­pean Uni­on. That the­se gate­kee­pers intro­du­ce har­s­her and har­s­her and more ruth­less mea­su­res against refu­gees is being wat­ched in silence.

Euro­pe has a moral respon­si­bi­li­ty to pro­tect over 2000 refu­gee child­ren from Afgha­ni­stan who are on their own in Greece. If the Greek sta­te is not able or wil­ling to pro­vi­de pro­tec­tion, the EU needs to step in. The EU Minis­ters of inte­rior urgent­ly need to deci­de upon a redis­tri­bu­ti­on mecha­nism and to dis­tri­bu­te par­ti­cu­lar­ly vul­nerable per­sons wit­hin Euro­pe accord­ing to huma­ni­ta­ri­an cri­te­ria.

Karl Kopp

Direc­tor of Euro­pean Affairs with PRO ASYL

Board mem­ber of ECRE

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