Campaign for the access to asylum in Greece

Campaign for the access to asylum in Greece

Τρίτη, 15 Ιουνίου 2021

ΚΟΙΝΟ ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ: “Ασφαλής” η Τουρκία, ανασφαλείς οι πρόσφυγες

 

“Ασφαλής” η Τουρκία, ανασφαλείς οι πρόσφυγες: Η ουσιαστική εξέταση των αιτήσεων ασύλου είναι η μόνη ασφαλής λύση για άτομα που χρήζουν διεθνούς προστασίας.

Αθήνα, 14 Ιουνίου 2021: Με νέα ΚΥΑ που εκδόθηκε στις 7 Ιουνίου,[1] η ελληνική Πολιτεία ορίζει την Τουρκία ως «ασφαλή τρίτη χώρα» για οικογένειες, άντρες, γυναίκες και παιδιά που αιτούνται διεθνή προστασία στη χώρα μας, προερχόμενοι από πέντε χώρες,[2] ακόμα και με υψηλά ποσοστά αναγνώρισης διεθνούς προστασίας, όπως η Συρία, το Αφγανιστάν και η Σομαλία.[3] Με αυτή την απόφαση πρακτικά παγιώνεται η πολιτική αποποίησης της ευθύνης προστασίας των προσφύγων στην Ευρώπη, ακόμη και των ασυνόδευτων παιδιών,[4] στο πλαίσιο που τέθηκε ήδη από την εφαρμογή της Κοινής Δήλωσης ΕΕ-Τουρκίας, το Μάρτιο του 2016.

Επισημαίνεται ότι η πολιτική αυτή έχει επί χρόνια μετατρέψει τα ελληνικά νησιά σε τόπο εγκλωβισμού χιλιάδων κατατρεγμένων και διωγμένων, με στόχο τη διευκόλυνση της επιστροφής τους σε τρίτες χώρες. Έχει δε γεννήσει ευρωπαϊκά σύμβολα ντροπής, όπως η Μόρια. Ωστόσο η λύση δεν μπορεί να είναι η επιστροφή εκτοπισμένων ατόμων στην Τουρκία. Η Τουρκία δεν παρέχει την διεθνή προστασία της Σύμβασης της Γενεύης του 1951 σε άτομα που αιτούνται διεθνή προστασία προερχόμενα από μη Ευρωπαϊκές χώρες, ενώ από το Μάρτιο του 2021 ανακοίνωσε ότι αποχωρεί από τη Σύμβαση της Κωνσταντινούπολης και ως εκ τούτου δεν θα προστατεύει πλέον τα θύματα έμφυλης βίας, που κινδυνεύουν σε περίπτωση επιστροφής από την Ελλάδα, βάσει της νέας ΚΥΑ. Τονίζεται, δε, πως σειρά αναφορών έχουν ανά τα χρόνια κρούσει τον κώδωνα του κινδύνου για επαναπροωθήσεις προσφύγων από την Τουρκία, ακόμη και προς εμπόλεμες ζώνες της Συρίας.[5] Περαιτέρω, η έννοια της ασφαλούς τρίτης χώρας προϋποθέτει την ύπαρξη ουσιώδους συνδέσμου του αιτούντα άσυλο με τη χώρα αυτή και τη συναίνεση της τρίτης χώρας, προκειμένου να είναι εφικτή η επιστροφή του ατόμου. Αμφότερες οι προϋποθέσεις στην περίπτωση της Τουρκίας δεν συντρέχουν.

Η απόφαση περί της Τουρκίας ως ασφαλούς τρίτης χώρας θα πρέπει να ανακληθεί για τους λόγους που αναφέρθηκαν. Έρχεται δε σε καιρό που, ήδη από τον Μάρτιο του 2020, η Τουρκία δεν δέχεται την επιστροφή προσφύγων και αιτούντων άσυλο από την Ελλάδα, όπως, εξάλλου, έχει επισημανθεί από το Υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου και από την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή.[6] Αυτό έχει ήδη οδηγήσει πρόσφυγες, των οποίων τα  αιτήματα έχουν απορριφθεί ως απαράδεκτα, κατ’ εφαρμογή της έννοιας της «ασφαλούς τρίτης χώρας», σε ένα καθεστώς νομικής αβεβαιότητας, κοινωνικού αποκλεισμού, οικονομικής εξουθένωσης, αστεγίας, αλλά ακόμη και παρατεταμένης κράτησης στη χώρα μας, η οποία κινδυνεύει να μετατραπεί σε φυλακή.[7] Η εφαρμογή της ΚΥΑ θα εξωθήσει ακόμη περισσότερα άτομα στην ίδια κατάσταση.

Μάλιστα, όπως έχει επισημανθεί σε σχετικές παρεμβάσεις του Συνηγόρου του Πολίτη, αλλά και πιο πρόσφατα από την Επίτροπο Εσωτερικών και Μετανάστευσης της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής,[8] σε αυτές τις περιπτώσεις θα πρέπει να δοθεί εκ νέου πρόσβαση στη διαδικασία ασύλου, στην οποία θα πρέπει να εξετασθεί η ουσία των αιτημάτων, κατ’ εφαρμογή του ενωσιακού και εθνικού δικαίου.[9]

Σε πλήρη σύμπνοια με το πνεύμα πρόσφατης ανακοίνωσης της Ύπατης Αρμοστείας του ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες,[10] οι οργανώσεις μας επισημαίνουν πως «η “εξωτερικοποίηση” είναι απλώς ένας τρόπος να μετατοπίζονται οι ευθύνες […] και να παρακάμπτονται οι διεθνείς υποχρεώσεις» και καλούν για μια ακόμη φορά τις ελληνικές και ευρωπαϊκές αρχές να σεβαστούν την ευθύνη προστασίας των προσφύγων, ώστε να αποφευχθεί και η περαιτέρω διολίσθηση του ευρωπαϊκού κεκτημένου για το άσυλο και των θεμελιωδών αρχών και αξιών προστασίας των Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου. Προς αυτό το σκοπό, καλούμε την ελληνική Πολιτεία να ανακαλέσει την από 7 Ιουνίου ΚΥΑ.

Οι υπογράφουσες οργανώσεις

Action for education 

Αλληλεγγύη Λέσβου

ΑΡΣΙΣ – Κοινωνική Οργάνωση Υποστήριξης Νέων

Better Days 

Γιατροί του Κόσμου – Ελλάδα

Δανικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγες (DRC)

Δίκτυο για τα Δικαιώματα του Παιδιού

Δίκτυο Κοινωνικής Υποστήριξης Προσφύγων και Μεταναστών

ECHO100PLUS

ΕΛΙΞ

Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου (ΕλΕΔΑ)

Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι

Ελληνικό Συμβούλιο για τους Πρόσφυγες (ΕΣΠ)

Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Μεταναστών 

Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Προσφύγων

Equal Rights Beyond Borders

Europe Must Act 

European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL)

Fenix - Humanitarian Legal Aid

HumanRights360

Human Rights Legal Project

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

INTERSOS

INTERSOS Hellas

Ίριδα - Κέντρο Γυναικών 

Κέντρο Διοτίμα

Legal Centre Lesvos

Lighthouse Relief

ΜΕΤΑδραση - Δράση για την Μετανάστευση και την Ανάπτυξη 

Mobile Info Team (MIT)

Odyssea

Πρωτοβουλία για τα Δικαιώματα των Κρατουμένων

Refugees International

Refugee Law Clinic Berlin

Refugee Legal Support (RLS)

Refugee Rights Europe (RRE)

Samos Volunteers

SolidarityNow

Still I Rise

Terre des hommes Hellas

Υποστήριξη Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο (RSA)

 



[1] Κοινή Υπουργική Απόφαση Αριθμ. 42799/2021 ΦΕΚ 2425/Β/7-6-2021.

[2] Συγκεκριμένα τη Συρία, το Αφγανιστάν, τη Σομαλία, το Πακιστάν και το Μπαγκλαντές.

[3] Ενδεικτικά, για το 2020, το ποσοστό θετικών αποφάσεων που εξέδωσε η Υπηρεσία Ασύλου για αιτούντες και αιτούσες άσυλο από τη Σομαλία ήταν 94,1%, από τη Συρία 91,6% και από το Αφγανιστάν 66,2%. RSA, «Στατιστικά στοιχεία για το σύστημα ασύλου το 2020», 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2021, διαθέσιμο στο: https://bit.ly/3wenF3R.

[4] Σύμφωνα με τα τελευταία διαθέσιμα στατιστικά του ΕΚΚΑ,  το 68% των ασυνόδευτων παιδιών που έχουν εντοπιστεί στην Ελλάδα προέρχονται από τη Συρία, το Αφγανιστάν και το Πακιστάν. Συνεπώς και σε κάθε περίπτωση η εφαρμογή της ΚΥΑ  δεν συνάδει με την αρχή του βέλτιστου συμφέροντος του παιδιού και τις προστατευτικές διατάξεις που προβλέπει η Διεθνής Σύμβαση για τα Δικαιώματα του Παιδιού. Για τα τελευταία διαθέσιμα στατιστικά, βλ. ΕΚΚΑ, Επικαιροποιημένη κατάσταση: Ασυνόδευτα Ανήλικα (Α.Α.) στην Ελλάδα, 15 Μαΐου 2021, διαθέσιμο στο: https://bit.ly/3zlsla0.

[5] Μεταξύ άλλων: EASO, Syria Situation of returnees from abroad: Country of Origin Information, Ιούνιος 2021, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3weoZUn, σσ. 12-13; AIDA, Country Report Turkey (May 2021 update), 31 Μαΐου 2021, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3gfnyzr; DW, “Amnesty: Turkey forced Syrian refugees back into war zone”, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2019, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3pAOpc3; ECRE, “Human Rights Watch report: push backs of Syrian refugees by Turkey”, 30 Μαρτίου 2018, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/2T43XsK; Human Rights Watch, “Turkey: Syrians Pushed Back at the Border”, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2015, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3x2tPUA.

[6] Μεταξύ άλλων: Υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, «Αίτημα Ελλάδος προς ΕΕ για την άμεση επιστροφή 1.450 αλλοδαπών βάσει της Κοινής Δήλωσης ΕΕ-Τουρκίας», 14 Ιανουαρίου 2021, διαθέσιμο στο: https://bit.ly/3izPzmA; European Commission, Commission Staff Working Document: Turkey 2020 Report, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2020, διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3xgt4aK, σ. 48.

[7] Επισημαίνεται πως η πλειοψηφία (65,8%) των αιτήσεων διεθνούς προστασίας που υποβλήθηκαν το 2020 στη χώρα μας αφορούσαν αιτούντες και αιτούσες άσυλο από τις 5 χώρες που προβλέπει η ΚΥΑ. Υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, Ετήσιο Ενημερωτικό Σημείωμα 2020, 19 Ιανουαρίου 2021, διαθέσιμο στο: https://bit.ly/3wfCgfi, σ.13.

[8] EN P-000604/2021, Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission (1.6.2021), διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3cuwEGb.

[9] Άρθρο 38, παρ. 4 Οδηγίας 2013/32/ΕΕ για τις διαδικασίες ασύλου, άρθρο 86, παρ. 5 Ν 4636/2019.

[10] Υ.Α. ΟΗΕ για τους Πρόσφυγες, «Η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία προειδοποιεί κατά της «εξωτερικής ανάθεσης» της διαδικασίας ασύλου, ζητά τον επιμερισμό και όχι τη μετατόπιση της ευθύνης για τους πρόσφυγες», 19 Μαΐου 2021, διαθέσιμο στο: https://bit.ly/3v7EgEN.

Joint Press Release: Greece deems Turkey “safe”, but refugees are not

 


Greece deems Turkey “safe”, but refugees are not: The substantive examination of asylum applications is the only safe solution for refugees

Athens, 14 June 2021: With a new Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) issued on 7 June,[1] the Greek State designates Turkey as a “safe third country” for families, men, women and children of five nationalities[2] seeking international protection in Greece. It is noted that the JMD applies even to those from countries with high recognition rates for international protection, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.[3] This decision reinforces the policy established by the March 2016 EU-Turkey Statement that shifts the responsibility to protect refugees, including unaccompanied children,[4] arriving in Europe to third countries.

For years, the effect of this externalisation policy has been to turn the Greek islands into a place of confinement for thousands of displaced and persecuted people, as authorities prioritised “containing” them on the islands to facilitate their return to third countries. This created places like Moria that became shameful symbols of Europe’s failure to protect refugees. But the solution is not to send displaced individuals to Turkey. In Turkey, people seeking asylum from non-European countries are not granted international protection per the 1951 Refugee Convention, while in March 2021 Turkey announced it would withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, and will thus not be protecting victims of gender-based violence, who are at an increased risk in case of return from Greece, based on the new JMD. People should not be returned to a country where their lives would be in danger, but multiple reports over recent years warn of the refoulement of refugees from Turkey, even to war zones in Syria.[5] Furthermore, the concept of a “safe third country” presupposes the existence of an essential connection between the asylum seeker and that country, as well as the consent of the third country to receive the returnee. These conditions are not met in the case of Turkey.

The decision to designate Turkey as a “safe third country”, should be revoked for the aforementioned reasons. Furthermore, the unworkability of this new law is highlighted, since as far back as March 2020, Turkey is not accepting the return of refugees and asylum seekers from Greece. This has been pointed out by Greece’s Ministry of Migration and Asylum as well as the European Commission.[6] Refugees whose applications have been rejected as inadmissible according to the “safe third country” principle, are already enduring a situation of protracted legal uncertainty, social exclusion, destitution, homelessness, and even prolonged detention in Greece, which is at risk of turning into a prison.[7] This JMD will serve only to increase the number of people in such a situation.

In fact, as has been pointed out in relevant interventions by the Greek Ombudsperson, and more recently in a reply by the Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission,[8] in these cases applicants must be able to re-apply for asylum, and have their applications examined on their merits, in accordance with EU and national law.[9]

In line with a recent announcement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),[10] our organisations stress that “externalization simply shifts asylum responsibilities elsewhere and evades international obligations”. We once again call on the Greek and European authorities to honour their responsibility to protect refugees and to avoid further undermining the European asylum acquis and the fundamental principles and values for protecting human rights. To this end, we call on Greece to revoke the JMD issued on 7 June.

Signatories

Action for education 

ΑRSISAssociation for the Social Support of Youth

Better Days 

Centre Diotima

Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

ECHO100PLUS

ELIX 

Equal Rights Beyond Borders

Europe Must Act 

European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL)

Fenix - Humanitarian Legal Aid

Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

Greek Forum of Migrants  

Greek Forum of Refugees (GFR)

Greek Helsinki Monitor

Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)

HumanRights360

Human Rights Legal Project

Initiative for the Detainees’ Rights

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

INTERSOS

INTERSOS Hellas

Irida Women's Center

Legal Centre Lesvos

Lesvos Solidarity

Lighthouse Relief

Médecins du Monde - Greece

METAdrasi- Action for Migration and Development 

Mobile Info Team (MIT)

Network for Childrens Rights

Network for the Social Support of Refugees and Migrants

Odyssea

Refugees International

Refugee Law Clinic Berlin

Refugee Legal Support (RLS)

Refugee Rights Europe (RRE)

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

Samos Volunteers

SolidarityNow

Still I Rise

Terre des hommes Hellas

 

 



[1] Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) 42799/2021, Gov. Gazette 2425/Β/7-6-2021, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3gjEYcI.

[2] The JMD applies to nationals of Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Bangladesh and Pakistan

[3] Indicatively, in 2020, the rate of positive decisions issued by the Greek Asylum Service (GAS) for asylum applicants from Somalia was 94.1%, from Syria 91.6% and from Afghanistan 66.2%. RSA, “Asylum statistics for 2020 A need for regular and transparent official information”, 11 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3vcbC5K.

[4] According to the latest available statistics issued by the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA), 68% of unaccompanied children that have been identified in Greece are from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Accordingly, and in any case, the implementation of the JMD is not in line with the principle of the best interests of the child and the protective provisions of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.  On the latest available statistics see EKKA, Situation Update: Unaccompanied Children (UAC) in Greece, 15 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3wcByPw.

[5] Amongst others: EASO, Syria Situation of returnees from abroad: Country of Origin Information, June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3weoZUn, pp. 12-13; AIDA, Country Report Turkey (May 2021 update), 31 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3gfnyzr; DW, “Amnesty: Turkey forced Syrian refugees back into war zone”, 25 October 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3pAOpc3; ECRE, “Human Rights Watch report: push backs of Syrian refugees by Turkey”, 30 March 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/2T43XsK; Human Rights Watch, “Turkey: Syrians Pushed Back at the Border”, 23 November 2015, available at: https://bit.ly/3x2tPUA.

[6] Amongst others: Ministry of Migration and Asylum, “Request by Greece towards the EU for the immediate return 1,450 third country nationals under the Joint EU-Turkey Statement”, 14 January 2021, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3izPzmA; European Commission, Commission Staff Working Document: Turkey 2020 Report, 6 October 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3xgt4aK, p. 48.

[7] It is noted that the majority (65.8%) of international protection applications that were submitted in Greece in 2020 regarded asylum seekers from the 5 countries that are stated in the JMD. Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Annual briefing 2020, 19 January 2021, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3wfCgfi, p.13.

[8] EN P-000604/2021, Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission (1.6.2021), διαθέσιμο στα αγγλικά στο: https://bit.ly/3cuwEGb.

[9] Article 38, para. 4 Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (recast) and article 86, para. 5 L. 4636/2019 (also known as “IPA”).

[10] UNHCR, “UNHCR warns against “exporting” asylum, calls for responsibility sharing for refugees, not burden shifting”, 19 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3v7EgEN.

Τρίτη, 16 Μαρτίου 2021

Illegal pushbacks, Lives at risk, NGOs under prosecution: Investigations on pushbacks at the EU level, targeting of those highlighting them in Greece

 


CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCESS TO ASYLUM


ANNOUNCEMENT


Illegal pushbacks, Lives at risk, NGOs under prosecution: Investigations on pushbacks at the EU level, targeting of those highlighting them in Greece

 

Athens, 16 March 2021

 

In the past year we have become witnesses of an escalation in the number of reported refugee and migrant pushbacks from the Greek borders (land and sea) to Turkey[1], in the context of the broader harshening of the European Union’s political stance vis a vis the management of the Refugee Issue, since the EU-Turkey Statement was adopted[2]. Without undergoing registration, without access to the asylum procedure or any other legal procedure, men, women and children who have just entered and/or are already in the country seeking protection are summarily, violently and indiscriminately returned to Turkey, in violation of any notion of national, European and international law.

The modus operandi, under which these incidents are reported to occur, places frequently in danger the lives of refugees and migrants and includes the use of physical and psychological violence against them. Particularly at sea, there are reported incidents where refugees and/or migrants are arrested, evidently, by the Greek security forces during their attempt to access the territory or after they have already disembarked on Greek shores, and after being violently embarked on sea rafts, are abandoned in the sea area between Greece and Turkey or even on uninhabited islands[3], with their lives being in direct danger. Furthermore, during incidents that have recently come to light, the victims had allegedly already been admitted to reception facilities, before being found in the same forcible way in the middle of the sea, at night, to be rescued by the Turkish authorities.[4]

In several of these incidents, it has been reported that FRONTEX forces, which remain inactive or at times allegedly provide support and assistance to reported pushback incidents, were present or at least aware[5]. However, for these alleged practices of FRONTEX, investigations are already underway by OLAF[6], as well as by a Working Group of the European Parliament[7]. By contrast, in what regards the alleged practices of the Greek authorities, there has been no sufficient and effective investigation whatsoever[8].

In spite of the systematic reports and complaints that are brought to public light[9], in spite of interventions by the National Commission for Human Rights[10], and of appeals by UN agencies[11] and Council of Europe Bodies[12] to end informal forced returns and the use of violence against refugees and migrants at Europe’s borders, the Greek government persists in downplaying any relevant publication as fake (fake news)[13], instead countering the protection of the borders from attempted entries that are guided by the Turkish authorities[14].

This reaction is also combined with the systematic defamation of NGOs and those working with them, particularly on the islands. It results in the targeting of organisations, employees and volunteers who support asylum cases, denounce rights violations, pushbacks or simply provide humanitarian relief. It creates a generalized state of mistrust, which incites attacks by racist groups which, while lynching, harassing and injuring employees and citizens that show solidarity, have attacked NGO facilities through arsons and vandalisms.

Moreover, the Greek authorities are publicly attacking organizations that bring to light the aforementioned practices, as well as anyone who might dare provide assistance to refugees either during the attempted entry into Greece or even after they have disembarked on the Greek shores, indiscriminately relating them with migrant smuggling networks[15]. Recently this practice has concerned targeted publications on investigations against organizations which systematically publicize reports on pushback incidents[16]. The investigations concern allegations of facilitating entry to the territory, setting up a criminal organization for the purpose of smuggling migrants, at times espionage, and are governed by a veil of secrecy, while no one is aware if they are conducted under the supervision of judicial authorities. Organizations have even been targeted by the Minister of Migration himself, as organizations that have set-up migrant smuggling networks with the aim of facilitating their entry to the territory, as early as from their countries of origin. Coincidentally, the organization to which the competent Minister referred to by name during a press briefing on 8 December 2020[17], happens to be the organization that has publicly denounced the aforementioned pushback incidents from inside the Greek state’s facilities (on 18 February 2021 from Megala Therma, in Lesvos, and on 8 September 2020 from the RIC of Samos)[18].

At the same time, the Greek Government has set a disproportionately strict operating framework for those organizations wishing to support refugees and migrants in the country, through the existing register of Non-Governmental Organizations. It should be recalled that already since July 2020[19], and again in November of the same year[20], the Expert Council on NGO law of the Council of Europe had stressed the “significant chilling effect” and the impediments placed by the provisions of the specific Registry to the work of NGOs, which includes the monitoring of the level of compliance to legality by state authorities in general.

The Campaign for Access to Asylum raises the alarm on the consequences with respect to freedom of speech and democratic values that can result from the ongoing efforts to create a climate of intimidation and distrust over the work of particularly those NGOs that operate at the country’s borders and receive reports and testimonies on pushbacks which, as they ought to, they publicise. In full accordance with the repeated calls issued by the foremost competent national and international bodies and organizations, the Asylum Campaign reiterates the call for putting an end to the practice of illegal pushbacks and the use of force against refugees and migrants, as well as for the effective investigation and prosecution of relevant incidents. At the same time, the Campaign calls on the Greek and European authorities:

·         To safeguard the independence of non-Governmental Organisations that engage in the support of refugees and migrants, particularly at the external borders of the European Union. 

·         To protect them from any unjust and unsubstantiated accusation addressed against them, which also puts at risk the principle of solidarity that binds their work.

·         To safeguard the search and rescue operation of both the competent authorities, as well as all actors that can provide assistance at Europes land and sea borders, where human lives are constantly put at risk.

·         To establish the appropriate mechanisms that will be able to contribute to the search and rescue of all people that find themselves in danger at Europes borders and in any area under their jurisdiction or over which they exert effective control.

·         To put an end to the onerous EU-Turkey Statement that has transformed the eastern Aegean region into a place of extensive human rights violations and to move forward with establishing legal pathways that will allow those seeking international protection in Greece and Europe to do so in a safe and orderly manner.

 

Signatories Organisations and Initiatives (in alphabetical order):

 

 


 

ARSIS –

Association for the Social Support of Youth

 

 

http://arsis.gr



 

Network for the Social Support of Refugees and Migrants

 

 

http://migrant.diktio.org

 

 

 

Greek Helsinki Monitor

 

www.greekhelsinki.gr

 


 

 

Greek Council for Refugees

 

 

www.gcr.gr


 

Greek Forum of Refugees

 

 

www.refugees.gr




 

LATHRA? Solidarity Committee on Refugees in Chios

 

www.lathra.gr



 

Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants

 

 

http://omadadikigorwn.blogspot.gr

 

 

 

 

PRAKSIS

 

 

www.praksis.gr

 

Initiative for the Detainees’ Rights

 

 

 

www.tokeli.gr

 


 

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

 

 

https://rsaegean.org/el

 

 

CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCESS TO ASYLUM

https://asylum-campaign.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/asylumcampaigngr/

kampaniagiatoasylo@gmail.com

 

CO-SIGNATORIES:

Aegean Boat Report (https://aegeanboatreport.com)
Mare Liberum (https://mare-liberum.org)
Josoor (www.josoor.net)
Alarmphone (www.alarmphone.org)
Action for Human rights - Solidarity to Refugees-Samos (https://www.facebook.com)
Greek Forum of Migrants (www.migrant.gr)
Changemakers Lab (www.changemakerslab.com)
Choose Love (https://choose.love)
Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece, Council of Europe (www.symbiosis.org.gr)
Equal Rights Beyond Borders (https://equal-rights.org)
Legal Centre Lesvos (https://legalcentrelesvos.org)
Network for Children's Rights (https://ddp.gr)
Better Days Greece (www.betterdays.ngo)
Refugee Biriyani & Bananas (www.facebook.com/RefugeeBiriyaniAndBananas/)
Greek Housing Network (https://greekhousingnetwork.org/)



[1] Amongst many others: Human Rights Watch, “Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Collective Expulsions”, 16 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3rAxPJJ; Εfsyn, “New denounciation on the pushback of two Kurdish families with five minor children”, 21 September 2020, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3bjjYSl; The Guardian, “Catastrophe for human rights’ as Greece steps up refugee ‘pushbacks”, 27 September 2020, https://bit.ly/2MFddAE; To Vima, “Lesvos: Video records illegal pushback by the coastguard”, 16 November 2020, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3sKRGGk; Der Spiegel, “Griechenland setzt Geflüchtete nach Ankunft auf Lesbos auf dem Meer aus”, 8 December 2020, https://bit.ly/3rIogIu; Racist Crimes Watch, “Pushbacks”, https://bit.ly/3qlyywG. 

[2] European Council, “Statement on the situation at the EU's external borders”, 4 March 2020, https://bit.ly/3bxZ2ar.

[3] Border Violence Monitoring Newtork, “We were crying and swimming and crying and swimming”, 27 January 2021, https://bit.ly/3eau4qv.  

[4] Efsyn, “Pushback from a state facility in Lesvos”, 22 February 2021, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/384Bmbq; EU Observer, “Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea”, 25 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3bu2vGP; Independent, “Greek ‘pushbacks’ brought to European court after child refugees ‘towed out to see and abandoned in raft’”, 4 March 2021, https://bit.ly/2O61zzp.

[5] Der Spiegel, “EU Border Agency Frontex Complicit in Greek Refugee Pushback Campaign”, 23 October 2020, https://bit.ly/3uQioPl; EU Observer, “Revealed: Official Greek order to illegally pushback migrants”, 18 November 2020, https://bit.ly/3r7Vxwy.

[6] Politico, “EU watchdog opens investigation into border agency Frontex”, 11 January 2021, https://politi.co/304e9Sg.

[7] Euronews, “EU migration chief urges Frontex to clarify pushback allegations”, 20 January 2021, https://bit.ly/2OfbWkg; European Parliament, “Respect of fundamental rights by FRONTEX: European Parliament inquiry launched”, 23 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3sTbxTy.

[8] It should be noted that in previous incidents that had been reported in the Evros area, the Greek Ombudsman conducted an ex-officio administrative enquiry, without, however, its results becoming public to this day. Greek Ombudsman, Decision on ex-officio enquiry,  Γρ.Συν.105, 9, June 2017, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3b77dtT.

[9] Border Violence Monitoring Network, The black book of pushback, 18 December 2020, https://bit.ly/3uNHXAI; RSA, Push backs and violations of human rights at sea: a timeline, 29 December 2020, https://bit.ly/3v4Euhg; Legal Centre Lesvos, Collective expulsions documented in the Aegean Sea: March-June 2020, 13 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3uOpxzU; Mare Liberum, Pushback Report 2020, 11 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3bUhjgU.

[10] NCHR, “Statement on the reported practices of push backs”, 9 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3t5VWjQ. 

[11] UNHCR, “UNHCR warns asylum under attack at Europe’s borders, urges end to pushbacks and violence against refugees”,  28 January 2021, https://bit.ly/3v8RCSB;  IOM, “IOM Calls for End to Pushbacks and Violence Against Migrants at EU External Borders”, 9 February 2021, https://bit.ly/2NWYthd.

[12] Council of Europe, “Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee calls on Greece to reform its immigration detention system and stop pushbacks”, 19 November 2020, https://bit.ly/308udT6.

[13] European Parliament, “Investigate alleged pushbacks of asylum-seekers at the Greek-Turkish border, MEPs demand”, 6 July 2020, https://bit.ly/30xxwn3.

[14] DW, “Mitsotakis interview at SZ”, 25 February 2021, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3e0z6Wt.

[15] Greek Helsinki Monitor, “OMCT on Greece: Ongoing crackdown on migrants’ rights defenders as pushbacks of people on the move continue”, 28 January 2021, https://bit.ly/3etPj6G;  mitarakis.gr, «We received a chaotic situation in the migration issue. Today we are closing facilities and enhancing security measures”, 14 February 2021, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3b8oPFU.

[16] CNN Greece, “Oikonomou: Successful identification of the NGOs that were involved in illegal smuggling of migrants”, 4 October 2020, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3kGi8Ol.

[17] Ministry of Migration and Asylum, “Ongoing Turkish provocation on the migration issue and increased arrivals of Somali nationals on our islands during past weeks”, 8 December 2020, in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3kC76d2.

[18] Aegean Boat Report, Small Children Left Drifting in Life Rafts in the Aegean Sea!”, 22 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3elxjLJ and “Two children left drifting alone in a rubber dingy by the Hellenic Coast Guard”, 4 March 2021, https://bit.ly/3sTc0Fi.

[19] Expert Council on NGO Law of the Council of Europe, Opinion on the compatibility with European standards of recent and planned amendments to the Greek legislation on NGO registration, CONF/EXP(2020)4, 2 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3rLLVaY.

[20] Expert Council on NGO Law of the Council of Europe, Addendum to the opinion on the compatibility with European standards of recent and planned amendments to the Greek legislation on NGO registration, CONF/EXP(2020)5, 23 November 2020, https://bit.ly/3epJebB.