No detention centre mapping data


Greece Immigration Detention

Greece is a key focus in Europe’s efforts to halt irregular migration flows. However, the country’s immigration detention laws and practices have been repeatedly denounced by observers, who have pointed to numerous abuses, including the systematic use of detention of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers, the failure to apply alternatives to detention, appalling conditions in detention facilities, and the use of police stations for immigration detention purposes.

Quick Facts


Immigration detainees (2016): 14,864
Detained asylum seekers (2016): 4,072
Immigration detention capacity (2013): 6,290
Persons expelled (2016): 19,055
International migrants (2015): 1,242,000
New asylum applications (2016): 58,134

Profile Updated: January 2018

Greece Immigration Detention

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Greece is an important entry point to the European Union (EU) for migrants and asylum seekers. Since 2008, when Spain and Italy began effectively blocking routes into their countries, the numbers of arrivals in Greece have increased substantially.[1] With support—and pressure—from its EU partners, Greece has responded to this situation by adopting a passel of controversial immigration control measures, including ramping up its detention operations, leading to a growing human rights crisis in Greece and Europe.[2]

When the numbers of arrivals in the EU rose dramatically in 2015—prompted by the civil war in Syria as well as long-term instability in other countries—Greece received the largest proportion of arriving asylum seekers. Indeed, out of approximately one million people who arrived to the EU in 2015, over 850,000 entered via Greece.

Fearing a “refugee crisis,” the EU reached an agreement with Ankara to counter immigration pressures. Under the March 2016 EU-Turkey deal, it was agreed that all migrants and asylum seekers who arrived on Greek islands after 20 March 2016 would be liable to return to Turkey. For every migrant or asylum seeker returned to Turkey, the EU would resettle one Syrian from Turkey. Turkey was also promised 6 billion euros, the lifting of visa requirements for its nationals, and the resumption of Turkey's EU accession process. Yet while the EU justified the return of migrants and asylum seekers to Turkey in referring to the “safe third country” principle, it was immediately clear that Turkey would not fulfil the criteria to be considered safe for refugees.[3] The EU-Turkey deal ultimately diverted the migration flow to Italy and in 2016 arrivals to Greece decreased to 170,000.[4]

To implement the EU agreement with Turkey, Greece converted reception centres on five Aegean Islands into closed (or “secure”) facilities and adopted a policy of “geographical restriction.” Pursuant to this measure, migrants and asylum seekers are today no longer transferred to the Greek mainland. Rather, they are obliged to remain on the island on which they are initially registered and undergo a fast-track border procedure to determine whether Turkey is a “safe country” for them. However, due to administrative delays, many migrants and asylum seekers find themselves stranded on the Aegean islands for months.[5] Numerous reports have denounced appalling conditions in the centres, including severe overcrowding, insufficient food supply and medical care, and a lack of protection from violence.[6]

Greece’s immigration detention practices more generally raise several concerns, including: the country’s resistance to using alternatives to detention; its systematic detention of children; the issuing of detention orders that lack individual assessments; inadequate conditions of detention; and the use of police stations for immigration detention purposes. For these reasons, Greece’s detention system has attracted broad international condemnation—including from four UN Special Procedures[7] and four UN human rights treaty bodies[8]—and have prompted more than 20 rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, a number of the Geneva-based treaty bodies criticized Greece’s practices. In 2015, for example, the UN Human Rights Committee urged Greece to ensure that all detention decisions be based on the individual circumstances of the person and consider less invasive means to achieve the same end.[9] Previously, in 2012, the Committee against Torture recommended that Greece ensure that administrative detention on the grounds of irregular entry not be applied to asylum seekers and that they should be detained only in exceptional circumstances or as a measure of last resort, on grounds specifically prescribed by law.[10]

 

LAWS, POLICIES, PRACTICES

Key norms. Immigration detention in Greece is regulated by three pieces of legislation:

(1) Law 3386/2005 on the Entry, Residence and Social Integration of Third-Country Nationals on Greek Territory, adopted in 2005 and amended several times, provides Greece’s principle legal framework governing the entry and departure of non-citizens, including detention.

(2) 2011’s Law 3907/2011 on the Establishment of an Asylum Service and a First Reception Service transposed the EU Returns Directive in Greek legislation and sets out the framework for pre-removal detention. Like Malta, Greece took advantage of the option offered in the directive not to apply it to persons apprehended or intercepted in connection with irregular border crossings, thereby preventing such individuals from accessing provisions in the directive—including alternatives to detention.

(3) Law 4375/2015 on the organisation and operation of the Asylum Service, the Appeals Authority, the Reception and Identification Service, the establishment of the General Secretariat for Reception, the transposition into Greek legislation of the provisions was adopted in 2016 to implement the EU-Turkey deal. This law transposed the EU Asylum Procedures Directive, thoroughly changing the asylum institutional framework and regulating the detention of asylum seekers.

Grounds for detention. Greek law establishes three grounds warranting pre-removal detention. Non-citizens may be detained if they: (1) display a risk of absconding; (2) avoid or hamper the preparation of the return or removal process; or (3) present a threat to public order or national security (Law 3386/2005, article 76(3); Law 3907/2011, article 30(1)). While the first two grounds reflect the terms of the Returns Directive, detention on account of a threat to public order is not included in the Directive. In the Kadzoev case, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that pre-removal detention cannot be justified solely on account of public order considerations. Thus, Greek legislation is not compatible with EU law.

Law 4375 provides that non-citizens must not be detained purely because they submitted an application for international protection, entered the country or stayed without documentation (article 46(1)). Yet, Greek legislation does allow for the detention of asylum seekers who apply for asylum while already detained under Law 3386 or Law 3907. Reflecting the EU Reception Conditions Directive, article 46(2) of Law 4375 provides five grounds justifying the detention of asylum seekers: (1) when there is a need to determine the person’s identity or nationality; (2) when authorities need to determine those elements of the asylum application which could not be otherwise obtained, in particular when there is a risk of absconding; (3) when, on the basis of objective criteria, it is ascertained that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual applied for international protection purely in order to delay or hinder the enforcement of a return decision; (4) when the person constitutes a danger to national security or public order; or (5) when there is a serious risk of the applicant absconding, in order to ensure the enforcement of a transfer according to the EU Dublin III Regulation. The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), however, observed that detention decisions often lack individual assessment and asylum seekers are frequently detained.[11]

The risk of absconding, justifying both pre-removal and asylum detention is addressed in Law 3908. Article 18 provides a list of criteria which may indicate such a risk. These are not exhaustively enumerated and include such criteria as non-compliance with a voluntary departure obligation; an explicit expression of intent to avoid removal; possession of false documents; providing false information to authorities; convictions for criminal offences, a pending prosecution or serious indications that the person concerned has committed or is about to commit a criminal offense; a lack of travel documents or identity documents; prior absconding; and non-compliance with an existing entry ban.

According to the GCR and AITIMA, the justification of pre-removal and asylum detention on public order grounds is excessively and unjustifiably relied on by the authorities and served as a basis for the June 2016 police circular ordering that non-citizens who commit “law-breaking conduct” on Greek islands be transferred to pre-removal detention centres on the mainland. In 2016, approximately 1,600 persons were transferred to pre-removal detention centres on this basis.[12]

In early, 2012 Greece adopted Law 4075/2012, amending Law 3386/2005. The new law added health-related grounds for immigration detention. Accordingly, non-citizens may be detained if they constitute a danger to public health because of an infectious disease, belong to a group vulnerable to infectious diseases, or live in conditions that do not meet minimum standards of hygiene. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants has argued that these measures are discriminatory and target the most vulnerable migrants, and that the majority of medical problems suffered in immigration detention are directly linked to detention conditions in the country.[13] The GCR has pushed for a revocation of this legislation on the grounds of its incompatibility with international law, while the UN Committee against Torture has urged the country to replace it with appropriate medical measures.[14] As of October 2017, this provision is still in force, yet it is not used in practice.[15]

Children. Greek legislation does not prohibit the detention of migrant or asylum-seeking children. The provisions of Law 3907/2011 addressing detention within pre-removal procedures (article 32) are modeled upon the Returns Directive. Accordingly, unaccompanied minors and families with minors are only to be detained as a measure of last resort—when no other adequate and less coercive measure can be used for the same purpose—and for the shortest period of time possible. Law 4375/2016, regulating detention within asylum procedures, provides that as a rule, unaccompanied children should not be detained (article 46(10)(b)). Only in “very exceptional cases” should unaccompanied minors who apply for international protection while in detention remain in detention—and this should always be a last resort to ensure that they are safely referred to appropriate accommodation facilities for minors. This detention measure is exclusively limited to the necessary time to safely refer the minor to appropriate accommodation facilities and cannot exceed a period of twenty-five days, extendable for twenty days. In 2016, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) recommended that Greece amend Law 4375 and abolish immigration detention of children altogether.[16]

Despite these legislative restrictions on the detention of children, the CPT and GCR report that in practice, unaccompanied children are systematically detained because of a constant lack of space in reception centres and open shelters. For this reason, for example, 324 unaccompanied children were detained on 28 December 2016, and 321 on 27 January 2017.[17] The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants also noted that asylum-seeking children are frequently detained for more than 45 days.[18] Furthermore, unaccompanied children in Greece also end up in detention due to inaccurate age assessment procedures. As observed by the GCR, police authorities systematically rely on X-ray examinations, decisions do not refer to an exact medical diagnosis and there is no possibility to challenge these.[19] The CPT urged Greece to establish adequate age assessment procedures which also provide for appeal channels,[20] and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants recommended that the country “strictly” refrain from detaining children, both unaccompanied and with families, in conformity with the principles of the best interests of the child and of family unity.[21]

In terms of conditions of detention, under Law 3907/2011, whenever possible, unaccompanied minors are to be accommodated in institutions that have specialist personnel and facilities whilst families must be provided with separate accommodation guaranteeing adequate privacy. Detained minors must have the opportunity to engage in leisure activities, including games and recreational activities appropriate for their age, and have access to education if they are confined for long periods of time (Law 3907/2011, article 32). In turn, pursuant to Law 4375/2016, unaccompanied children in asylum detention must be detained separately from adult detainees.

In practice, however, unaccompanied children are detained in unsuitable and inadequate conditions including pre-removal detention centres, police stations, and Reception and Identification Centres (RICs). During his 2016 visit to Greece, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants expressed concern at the inadequate conditions and lack of protection faced by those in Lesvos centre and police stations. As he noted, the conditions of detention were “deplorable, leaving children at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.” Unaccompanied minors were locked in police station cells 24/7 without access to the outdoors for over two weeks and without any recreational or educational activity. Detained children lacked access to interpreters, legal assistance, and information presented in a child-friendly manner.[22] The Special Rapporteur’s observations concur with findings from the CPT’s 2016 visit to Greece. As well as criticising the use of, and conditions in, the RICs and police stations, the Committee also highlighted the situation in detention centres. The CPT found that the conditions in detention centres were inadequate for children. Children in Petrou Ralli centre, for example, were locked in their rooms and offered just 30 minutes of daily outdoor exercise. They were also not provided with bed linen, sufficient personal hygiene products, activities or support. The Committee therefore recommended that authorities stop using Petrou Ralli centre for detaining children.[23]

The UN human rights treaty bodies have also criticised Greece’s detention of foreign children. In 2012, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the country’s authorities to ensure that unaccompanied children are not detained or that only in exceptional circumstances—and for the shortest period of time—should they remain in detention.[24] In the same year, the UN Committee against Torture recommended that Greece promptly amend its legislation to prohibit the detention of unaccompanied children.[25]

Length of detention. According to articles 30(5)-(6) of Law 3907, which mirror the Returns Directive, the initial period of detention is up to six months. This can be extended by up to 18 months if, despite all reasonable efforts employed by authorities, return proceedings last longer due to a lack of cooperation from the person concerned or delays in obtaining the necessary documents from destination countries. Before setting the current maximum length of detention, Greece had gradually extended this period: from three to six months in 2009, and up to 18 months in 2011, when transposing the Returns Directive.

In contrast, the maximum length for detaining asylum seekers was reduced in 2016. Currently, the maximum duration is set at three months (Law 4375, article 46(4)). Previously the maximum duration was 18 months and until 2012, asylum seekers could be detained for up to either three or six months, depending on whether the person applied for international protection after or prior to being arrested. Yet in practice, as the GCR noted, people applying for asylum whilst in detention are frequently held for longer than the time-limit due to delays in registering the asylum application—and these delays can last for several months .[26] Moreover, AITIMA also documented the practice of “re-detention”, whereby a person is detained more than once for the period exceeding the maximum permissible period of detention.[27]

Following a visit in January 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stressed that the detention of non-citizens for up to 18 months, in conditions that are sometimes even worse than in regular prisons, “could be considered as a punishment imposed on a person who has not committed any crime. This appears to be a serious violation of the principle of proportionality which may render the deprivation of liberty arbitrary.”[28] Both the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee against Torture have thus urged Greece to ensure that immigration detention is ordered for the shortest time-period possible.[29]

Law 4375 provides a shorter detention period for unaccompanied children, which is not to exceed 25 days. Detention may be prolonged for a further twenty days (article 46(10)(b)) due to exceptional circumstances. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants noted that asylum-seeking children are frequently detained for longer than 45 days.[30]

Procedural guarantees. Detention orders are issued by the Police Director, although in cases falling within the geographical authority of the General Police Directorates of Attica or Thessaloniki, the Police Director for Aliens is responsible (Law 4275/2016, article 46(3)). Detention orders should be presented within three days following arrest, be issued in writing, and explain the reasons in law and fact (Law 3907/2011, article 30(2)).

The individual concerned must receive the information outlining the reasons for their detention in a language they can understand (3386/2005, article 76(3)) as well as information about their rights (Law 3907/2011, article 30(2)), and communication with their counsel must also be facilitated (3386/2005, article 76(3)). According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, however, detainees are often not provided with information in a language they can understand, have limited access to legal assistance, and receive little or no professional interpretation assistance.[31]

Domestic legislation establishes automatic review of the legality of pre-removal and asylum detention. Under Law 3907/2011 (article 30(3)), reviews of pre-removal detention are to be carried out every three months by the police director who issued the order or, in the case of detention extension, by an administrative court. In turn, pursuant to Law 4375/2016 (article 46(5)), reviews of asylum detention are to be carried out by judicial authorities. In 2013, however, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants raised concerns that in practice, reviews are conducted without taking into account the specific features of individual cases.[32]

The law also allows detainees to appeal an initial detention order or its extension before an administrative court (Law 3386/2005, article 76(3); Law 3907/2011, article 30(2); Law 4375/2016, article 46(6)). However, in 2013 the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants observed that appealing detention orders was “virtually impossible,” in part because they were written in Greek and appeals must be submitted in writing and in Greek, while access to an interpreter and lawyer was not guaranteed.[33] Since 2016, asylum seekers have been entitled to free legal assistance and representation to challenge their detention (Law 4375/2016, article 46(7)). Yet, as observed by the GCR, no free legal aid system for challenging asylum detention has been established.[34] During its 2015 visit, the Special Rapporteur also noted that cell phones are confiscated and access to a phone is not guaranteed for those who lack resources to pay for calls themselves. This prevents detainees from obtaining information or evidence to substantiate their claims.[35]

Trends and statistics. According to official statistics, 14,864 non-citizens were detained in pre-removal detention centres in 2016, of whom 4,072 were asylum seekers. The number of asylum applications submitted from detention was 2,829 in 2016 and 2,543 in 2015.[36]

Alternatives to detention. Non-custodial “alternatives” to pre-removal detention were introduced following the transposition of the Returns Directive. Under article 30(1) of Law 3907, non-nationals may be placed in pre-removal detention only if no other sufficient—but less coercive—measures can be applied effectively. Article 46(2) of Law 4375 provides for the analogous guarantee for people applying for international protection while in detention. It provides that detention should be exceptional and its necessity be based on individual assessment. Less coercive measures include regular reporting to the authorities, the deposit of an adequate financial guarantee, the submission of documents, or the obligation to stay at a certain place (Law 3907/2011, article 22(3)).

However, during his 2016 visit, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants noted that alternatives are often not considered by the authorities and an individual assessment of necessity and proportionality (in accordance with Law 3907) is not consistently applied. The Special Rapporteur urged Greece to “urgently” consider alternatives to detention and only order detention in exceptional circumstances.[37]

UN human rights treaty bodies have also expressed concern over the lack of application of alternatives to detention. The UN Human Rights Committee recommended in 2015 that Greece ensure that detention is proportionate and that alternatives to detention are available in law and implemented in practice. In particular, detention decisions should be based on individual circumstances and take into account less invasive means of achieving the same end.[38] The UN Committee against Torture also urged Greece to ensure that detention is used only in exceptional circumstances or as a measure of last resort. To this end, alternatives to detention should be duly examined and exhausted.[39]

Criminalisation. Under articles 82-83 of Law 3386/2005, a non-national who attempts to enter or exit Greece without authorisation can be sentenced to prison for at least three months and fined 1,500 euros or more.[40] A person on the country’s list of “undesirable foreigners” who re-enters Greece without authorisation is subject to a fine of 3,000-10,000 euros and at least a one-year prison sentence. However, the public prosecutor can decide to abstain from pursuing these cases and instead submit the offender to administrative expulsion.

Privatisation. Greece has taken steps to allow private security companies to provide guards for immigration detention centres. According to news reports, in 2012 legislation was adopted allowing relevant authorities to transfer the responsibility for guarding centres from the Greek police to private security firms. Then in September 2013, the Greek Ministry of Public Order said they would issue tenders, directed at private security companies, to manage some of the country’s detention centres.[41] Ultimately, the public tenders were arranged for the provision of security to three detention centres (Fylakio, Corinth and Drama) for 14 million euros per year.[42] Yet, as of October 2017, private companies were reportedly not involved in the guarding of such centres.[43]

Regulation of detention conditions. Mirroring the language of the Returns Directive, article 31(1) of Law 3907/2011 provides that detention should take place as a rule in specialised detention facilities (Law 4375/2016, article 46(9)). Non-citizens in detention must be kept separated from ordinary prisoners. Under article 81 of Law 3386/2006, “special premises” where non-citizens are detained are to be established by the Ministers of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, Economy and Finance, Health and Social Solidarity and Public Order. The Hellenic Police is to be responsible for guarding such premises.

Article 31 of Law 3907/2011 spells out several further guarantees. Accordingly, immigration detainees should be allowed to establish contact with their legal representatives, family members, and consular authorities on request. Detainees should have access to emergency health care and “particular attention” should be given to the situation of vulnerable persons. Relevant national, international and non-governmental organisations should be able to visit detention centres, although these visits may be subject to authorisation from the authorities. Law 4375/2016, regulating asylum detention, provides that men and women should be detained in separate areas and families should be afforded adequate privacy (article 46(10)(a)). Following his 2016 visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants urged the authorities to ensure full access to all detention facilities for lawyers and civil society organisations, the possibility for detainees to promptly contact their family and have medical and linguistic assistance, and for there to be a system of systematic, independent monitoring of detention centres.[44]

 

DETENTION INFRASTRUCTURE

Greece’s immigration detention estate regularly fluctuates as deficient facilities are closed, new centres established, and older sites refurbished and reopened.[45] The country uses both dedicated immigration detention facilities and police and border guard stations for detaining migrants. In addition to these, the Global Detention Project also classifies a number of reception centres, most of which operate as “hotspots” on the Aegean Islands, as secure centres. The Hellenic Police, falling under the authority of the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, is in charge of implementing immigration detention.[46]

Pre-removal detention centres. Most dedicated centres are labeled “pre-removal detention centres,” which have been set up by ministerial decisions in the wave of reforms put in place by the 2012 Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management. Following a 2015 visit to Greece, the CPT noted that “the concept for the operation of pre-departure centres is still based on a security approach with detainees treated in many respects as criminal suspects.” The committee reiterated its recommendation that irregular migrants be held in facilities specifically designed for that purpose, offering material conditions and a regime appropriate to their legal situation, and staffed by suitably qualified personnel.[47]

According to the Greek Refugee Council, as of mid-2017, Greece operated eight pre-removal detention centres with a total capacity of 5,925 persons. The centres were located in Amygdaleza (Attica) Corinth (Peloponnese), Drama Paranesti (Thrace), Fylakio Orestiada (Thrace), Kos (Aegean), Moria (Lesvos) (Aegean), Tavros (Petrou Ralli) (Attica), and Xanthi (Thrace).[48]

Of these centres, the Amygdaleza, Corinth, Drama Paranesti, and Xanthi facilities were established during the period between April and October 2012. The centres in Fylakio and Athens (Tavros), meanwhile, were previously used for detaining migrants, and both facilities attracted criticism for their detention conditions. Following a 2013 visit, the CPT stressed that these centres, with their “totally inappropriate” carceral design, should only be used for short periods.[49] Instead, however, these centres were later rebranded as pre-removal detention centres and continue operating today. The centres located in Kos and Lesvos only opened in 2017 within the context of the EU-Turkey deal.

The Amygdaleza pre-removal detention centre (with a capacity of 2,000)[50] was established on the premises of the police academy in Athens. The centre is composed of camps in a series of fenced-in gravel compounds. In each compound there are three or four rows of pre-fabricated units. The 9 square metre rooms accommodate four people and are equipped with a table, chairs, and a cupboard.[51] Having visited the centre in 2016, the AITIMA observed that in some containers the equipment, such as air-conditioning, hot water, and toilets, was defective. The quantity of food and personal hygiene products which were distributed was also insufficient. Detainees could move freely during the day within the fenced-in area. In every compound there was a container devoted to recreation (with a TV and chairs) and worship. Detainees were not allowed to use mobile phones, but they could use card phones if they could afford them. The centre was visited by a doctor and nurses, but this was not on a daily basis. There was no medical screening upon admission nor interpretation assistance for the medical appointments.[52] During its 2013 visit, the CPT observed that the units were generally clean and in good state of repair, with sufficient lighting and ventilation. Detainees could remain outside for eight hours per day, but the outside space was just narrow gravel stone paths between the rows of units or an open area at the entrance to the compound. There were no common rooms with TV nor place for worship.[53]

A former military camp, the Corinth pre-removal centre (capacity of 768)[54] is composed of eight two-storey buildings. The buildings have two wings, on each of which there are four 33 square metre dormitories. The dormitories have a capacity of 12 and have a sanitary annexe with a toilet and a basin. Following its 2015 visit to the facility, the CPT recommended that the dormitories accommodate up to four persons rather than 12, and are equipped with tables, chairs and lockers.

During the visit, it was reported that on most floors visited, only two of the five showers worked, there was no hot water and the detainees were not provided with any hygiene products. The Committee therefore recommended that detainees be provided with sufficient quantities of personal hygiene and cleaning products (including washing powder).[55] It was also found that detainees were not offered activities—even access to a television—and they were only allowed to go out to the yard adjoining each building for two hours every morning and afternoon. The CPT urged Greek authorities to ensure a programme of activities (educational, recreational and vocational) and to set up at least one common association room equipped with television and games, and a multi-faith room.[56] Since December 2014, there had been no regular presence of a doctor and the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) stopped visiting the centre in March 2015. Consequently, one untrained officer was responsible for managing the health care needs of several hundred irregular migrants. The CPT stressed that urgent action should be taken to ensure that a doctor and at least one nurse visit the centre on a daily basis.[57]

The Drama Paranesti centre (capacity of 977),[58] northeast of Thessaloniki, was established within a former military base and, as of 2013, consisted of four distinct fenced-in single-storey accommodation blocks, each with its own yard, and two administrative buildings. In each block, there were six dormitories, accommodating up to 30 people.[59] In 2016, the AITIMA visited the centre and found that the conditions of detention and access to recreation were generally adequate. The centre featured containers for recreation (with tables, chairs, TV, books and table games) and worship, and detainees could access outdoor space throughout the day. Heating and air-conditioning were satisfactory, detainees were provided with items of personal hygiene and they were also allowed to use their mobile phones. On the other hand, however, there was no doctor in the facility and, consequently, no medical screening took place upon admission.[60] During its 2013 visit, the CPT noted that the dormitories only had bunk beds, no lockers for personal belongings, and no tables or chairs were provided. Lighting and ventilation were adequate but the buildings needed some refurbishments. The cramped conditions inside the accommodation blocks were made worse by the fact that detainees were only allowed access to the sizeable courtyard for one and a half hours a day and were offered no activities (recreational, vocational, sport) and no television. The CPT recommended that authorities ensure at least four square metres per person, equip rooms with tables, chairs and lockers, and develop a programme of activities.[61]

The Xanthi centre (capacity of 480)[62] is located within the former regional police academy and, as of 2013, consisted of two two-storey accommodation buildings, each within a secure fenced perimeter, and an administration building.[63] Having visited the centre in 2016, the AITIMA found that the conditions of detention and access to recreational activities were generally adequate. The 23 square metre cells had a capacity of eight and were equipped with a TV, refrigerator and air-conditioning unit. Detainees had free access to outdoor space and were provided with recreational activities (table games, billiard). There was also a worship area in the centre and newly arrived individuals received personal hygiene items. On the other hand, food was insufficient and of poor quality, there was no doctor at the centre and no proper medical screening took place upon admission.[64] Three years earlier, the centre was visited by the CPT who found that rooms were generally in an acceptable state of repair and were equipped with a table, chairs and cupboard space. Access to natural light and ventilation was also sufficient and there was a satisfactory number of sanitation facilities which were generally in good repair. However, living space in the dormitories was often less than four square metres per person and detainees were not offered any purposeful activities. Access to the yard in front of each building was limited to one hour a day and detainees were usually confined to the gravel area.[65]

Before the Fylakio Orestiada centre (capacity of 620)[66] was rebranded as a pre-removal detention centre in 2013, it had received a large number of monitoring visits, including by the CPT, Human Rights Watch, and Fundamental Rights Agency, all of which denounced the centre’s severe overcrowding, appalling living-conditions and failure to separate different categories of detainees.[67] For instance, following its 2013 visit, the CPT reported overcrowding, dirty and dilapidated cells, insufficient access to natural light and artificial lighting, and a concerning lack of activities.[68] The AITIMA visited the centre in 2016 and found that families and vulnerable persons were not kept separate from the rest of detainees, bed sheets were dirty, there was no hot water, detainees did not receive personal hygiene items, outdoor time was irregular (it was not granted on a daily basis) and limited to 10-20 minutes, the use of cell phones was not permitted, and the centre was not regularly visited by a medical doctor.[69]

Located on the premises of Attica Aliens Police Directorate, the Tavros (Petrou Ralli) centre (capacity of 370)[70] has been in use since 2005 and was rebranded as a pre-removal detention centre in 2016. The conditions of detention at the centre have long been a source of criticism from both domestic and international observers.[71] In S.D., R.U., and Bygylashvili, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the conditions at Petrou Ralli amounted to ill-treatment. Following its 2016 visit, the CPT concluded that conditions were extremely poor. Most of the men’s cells were filthy, stuffy and infested, and mattresses and blankets were generally worn and dirty. The sanitation facilities were dirty and in a poor state of repair, and hygiene and cleaning products were insufficient. Further, detainees were locked in their cells for much of the day and the delegation found that outdoor exercise was not offered on a daily basis and, at times, the amount of time offered rarely exceeded 15 minutes.[72] A similar account was also recorded following the CPT’s visit to the centre in 2015—although some features worsened between the two visits. For instance, in 2015, most detainees were granted outdoor exercise for one hour a day on weekdays, but not at the weekend. The CPT thus recommended that all detainees be offered at least two hours of outdoor exercise a day, including at that weekend, and that a common room, equipped with television and games, and a room for prayers be set up in every wing of the centre.[73]

In regards to health care, the CPT noted that most of the shortcomings observed in 2015 also remained valid in 2016. These included an absence of health care personnel in the evening, at night and over the weekend; the absence of a psychiatrist; the lack of medical screening upon arrival; the lack of systematic recording of medical consultations; the filtering of requests to see a doctor by police officers; the lack of respect for medical confidentiality; the unnecessary isolation of foreign nationals who were HIV positive or who had Hepatitis; and the lack of self-harm and suicide prevention measures.[74]

Among several measures adopted by Greece in order to implement the EU-Turkey deal, the country set up pre-removal detention centres on two Aegean Islands—Lesvos (Moria) and Kos—in 2017. While the facility in Kos is located next to the hotspot, the Moria centre is located inside the hotspot facility itself. Both detention centres had an initial capacity of 150.[75] However, as of September 2017 both centres had far exceeded this: the capacity of Kos detention centre was 500 and the capacity of the Moria detention centre was 210.[76] There are currently plans to set up a pre-removal detention centre on Samos, while plans for a centre on Chios were interrupted following resistance from local residents.[77]

Special holding facilities. Besides pre-removal detention centres, Greece also detains non-citizens in other dedicated detention facilities, called “special holding facilities.”

As of 2016, the Thessaloniki special holding facility, located on the premises of the Aliens Police Directorate in Thessaloniki, was composed of nine cells. The rooms, of about 50 square metres each, could accommodate up to 10-14 detainees. However, during its 2016 visit, the CPT found that cells were not equipped with beds, plinths or chairs. The mattresses, placed directly on the floor, were filthy and the blankets were dirty and flea-infested. Many of the showers and toilets inside the cells were dilapidated. Detainees were not provided with any outdoor exercise and were denied access to their personal belongings. The cells were hot and humid because the air-conditioning was rarely switched on. In addition to this, the centre was not visited by health care personnel and the daily allowance of less than six euros was insufficient for covering all the needs of a detained person. The CPT urged the Greek authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that every detainee be provided with a clean mattress and bedding. Moreover, they called for all cells be de-infested, for a doctor and nurse to be present several hours each day, and—for public health reasons—medical screenings to be carried out upon a person’s admission.[78] Also in 2016, the AITIMA visited the centre and found that there was no outdoor space for exercise, detainees were locked up in their rooms around the clock, hot water was available for only two hours per day, there was no worship space, a doctor only visited the centre once a month, and heating was insufficient.[79] In the 2009 Tabesh case, the ECtHR ruled that three months in detention in Thessaloniki centre, without proper meals and insufficient recreational activities qualified as degrading treatment.[80]

The Athens Airport holding facility is comprised of two sections: one for detaining people prior to removal and another for detaining those who arrive at the airport without proper documents.[81] In 2016, the CPT observed that conditions in the facility were generally adequate, however pre-removal detainees had no access to outdoor exercise which made the centre unsuitable for detaining persons for more than one day. The Committee also stressed that the section for persons apprehended upon arrival should not be used for overnight stays.[82] The AITIMA visited the centre in the same year and noted that pre-removal detainees were locked up 24 hours a day, while those detained upon entry could only move about in limited indoor space. Detainees did not receive personal hygiene products and had no access to any recreational activities.[83] These issues had also been highlighted by the CPT in 2013, when the organisation criticised the lack of any outdoor exercise and the practice of holding detainees in their cells almost around the clock. The CPT recommended reducing the number of detainees and setting up an outdoor exercise yard.[84] In the M.S.S. case, the ECtHR found that even a relatively short period of detention—less than a week—in such conditions amounted to a prohibited treatment under article 3 of the ECHR.[85]

Dedicated detention facilities, closed in the past years, include a Special Holding Facility for unaccompanied minors in Amygdaleza, Elliniko centre, and Komotini pre-removal detention centre.[86]

Police and border guard stations. Unlike other EU countries, Greece has systematically used police and border guard stations for prolonged immigration detention. Following critique of this practice,[87] the Hellenic Police Headquarters stated that, as of the end of 2014, police stations had ceased to be used for immigration detention. Yet, according to the 2016-2017 reports of the Greek Ombudsman and GCR, police stations continue to be used to confine migrants.[88] In fact, it appears that a considerable proportion of immigration detainees are confined within police stations. During its 2015 visit, the CPT found that in addition to non-citizens detained in pre-removal detention centres, “another 2,000 irregular migrants were being held in police stations and special holding facilities around the country for a nominal capacity of a little more than 5,500.”[89] Following its 2016 visit, the CPT urged the Greek authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that all irregular migrants currently detained in police stations be transferred without delay to centres specifically designed for this population and staffed by suitably-qualified personnel.[90]

According to the GCR, the number and capacity of police stations used for immigration detention is unknown, although potentially all police and border guard stations may confine migrants. Reportedly, police stations used for these purposes as of 2016 included those located in Kolonos, Agios Panteleimon, Omonia, Kypseli, Drapetsona, Liti, and Kordelio.[91] As of 2012-2013, the police and border guard stations used for confining migrants included those located in Thermi,[92] Igoumenitsa,[93] Iasmos, Xanthi,[94] and several in Evros, such as in Tychero (Soufli), Soufli (Soufli), Feres (Alexandroupoli), Neo Chimonio (Orestiada), Nea Vyssa (Orestiada), Isaakio (Didymoteicho), Metaxades (Didymoteicho), and Poros (Alexandroupoli).[95] These facilities may still be being systematically used for immigration detention purposes.

Reception and Identification Centres and “hotposts.” Between October 2015 and March 2016, Greece set up five Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) on the Aegean Islands: in Lesvos (Moria) with a capacity of 1,500; Chios (Vial) with a capacity of 1,100; Samos (Vathy) with a capacity of 850; Leros (Lepida) with a capacity of 1,000; and Kos with a capacity of 1,000.[96] These “hotspot” facilities implement the European Commission’s May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, which is aimed at managing the so-called “refugee crisis” and assisting frontline member states facing disproportionate migratory pressure at their external borders.

Originally, RICs functioned as facilities to register, screen, and assist arriving migrants before swiftly transferring them to the Greek mainland. However, following the March 2016 EU-Turkey deal, their role changed and in practice, all newly arrived migrants are now subject to a “restriction of movement” within the RICs for up to 25 days (Law 4375/2016, article 14). During this period, individuals undergo registration and identification and are not allowed to leave the centre. However, following pressure from NGOs and overcrowding due to delays in the asylum and relocation process, this measure was relaxed and, reportedly, on most of the islands persons tend to be able to leave the premises within a few days.[97]

Nevertheless, the possibility of systematically carrying out this measure for 25 days exists because it is permitted under article 14 of Law 4375. In Amuur v. France, the ECtHR ruled that holding asylum seekers in airport international zones for 20 days under police surveillance amounted to detention. Therefore, although labelled a “restriction of liberty”, this measure amounts to de facto detention. The RICs also function as non-secure reception centres, accommodating persons who passed though the identification phase. They are allowed to exit the facilities during the day. The GDP thus classifies RICs as both “secure” (in terms of the population which is prevented from leaving the premises) and “non-secure” (in terms of the population who can exit the premises during the day) reception centres. Several reports denounced the deeply inadequate material conditions at the RICs, including severe overcrowding, lack of protection from violence, inadequate food and, healthcare provision and sanitary facilities.[98]

In addition, Greece operates a RIC in Fylakio (Evros) (with a capacity of 240 as of 2015), which is not covered by the EU’s hotspot approach. Set up in 2013 as a First Reception Centre (FRC), the Fylakio centre was initially governed by Law 3907/2011 but functioned in a similar manner to the RICs on the Aegean islands.[99] Under article 7 and 13 of Law 3907, non-citizens could not leave the premises during verification of identity and nationality, registration, medical examination, information, and vulnerability assessment which could take for up to 25 days, With the entry into force of Law 4375/2016, the provisions of the new legislation became applicable to the Fylakio centre and the centre was renamed as RIC. The only difference between Fylakio centre and the centres on the Aegean islands is that following the 25-day period of de facto detention, individuals are either released or transferred to a pre-removal detention centre.[100] In consequence, the GDP qualifies the FRC as a secure reception centre.

 

[1] Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, “Migration and asylum: mounting tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Doc. 13106, 2013, assembly.coe.int/ASP/XRef/X2H-DW-XSL.asp.

[2] Between 2007 and 2009, most migrants reached Greece through Aegean islands. However, by early 2010, the main entry point had shifted to the Evros River on the border between Greece and Turkey. Responding to the migratory pressures in Evros, Greece dramatically increased deployments of police in the region, put in place a range of surveillance and interdiction methods, and completed a 12.5 kilometer-long fence along the border. Meanwhile, between November 2010 and February 2011, Frontex made its debut deployment of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT). As a result, migrants and asylum seekers shifted their focus back to the Aegean Islands.

[3] Amnesty International, “The EU-Turkey deal: Europe’s year of shame,” March 2017, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/the-eu-turkey-deal-europes-year-of-shame/; I. Majcher, “Border Securitization and Containment vs. Fundamental Rights: The European Union’s ‘Refugee Crisis’.” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, March 2017, https://www.georgetownjournalofinternationalaffairs.org/online-edition/border-securitization-and-containment-vs-fundamental-rights-the-european-unions-refugee-crisis.

[4] UNHCR, “Refugees and Migrants Sea Arrivals in Europe,” December 2016, https://data2.unhcr.org/ar/documents/download/53447.

[5] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), “European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE),” December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[6] Human Rights Watch, “Greece: Asylum Seekers in Abysmal Conditions on Islands,” October 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/23/greece-asylum-seekers-abysmal-conditions-islands; UNHCR, “UNHCR urges action to ease conditions on Greek islands (Briefing Note),” 8 September 2017, http://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2017/9/59b24a377/unhcr-urges-action-ease-conditions-greek-islands.html.

[7] Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, “Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak: Mission to Greece,” A/HRC/16/52/Add.4, March 2011, www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx;

Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Juan Miguel Petit: Addendum: MISSION TO GREECE (8-15 November 2005),” E/CN.4/2006/67/Add.3, March 2006, www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, “Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Addendum: Mission to Greece,” A/HRC/27/48/Add.2, 30 June, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[8] Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Greece,” CCPR/C/GRC/CO/2, 3 December 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx; Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx; Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention: Concluding observations: Greece,” CRC/C/GRC/CO/2-3, 13 August 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx; Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “Concluding observations on the twentieth to twenty-second periodic reports of Greece,” CERD/C/GRC/CO/20-22, 3 October 2016, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[9] Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Greece,” CCPR/C/GRC/CO/2, 3 December 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[10] Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[11] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[12] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece; AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[13] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/23/46/Add.4, 17 April 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[14] International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), “Second Joint Submission of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (Application no. 30696/09) and related cases,” February 2013, http://www.refworld.org/docid/54f5cd00a.html; Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[15] Greek Council for Refugees, Email correspondence with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), October 2017.

[16] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[17] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece; Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[18] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[19] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece; AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten; Amnesty International, “Greece: Enter at your peril: Lives put at risk at the gate of Europe,” 2013, www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR25/007/2013/en.

[20] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[21] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[22] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[23] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[24] Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention: Concluding observations: Greece,” CRC/C/GRC/CO/2-3, 13 August 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[25] Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[26] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[27] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[28] Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, “Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Addendum: Mission to Greece,” A/HRC/27/48/Add.2, 30 June, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[29] Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Greece,” CCPR/C/GRC/CO/2, 3 December 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx; Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[30] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[31] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/23/46/Add.4, 17 April 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx. The lack of legal and linguistic assistance was also highlighted by the AITIMA, see: “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[32] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/23/46/Add.4, 17 April 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[33] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/23/46/Add.4, 17 April 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[34] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[35] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[36] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[37] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx. See also: Greek Council for Refugees, “Implementing Alternatives to Administrative Detention in Greece,” 2015, http://www.gcr.gr/index.php/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/536-efarmozontas-ta-enallaktika-metra-tis-dioikitikis-kratisis-stin-ellada.

[38] Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Greece,” CCPR/C/GRC/CO/2, 3 December 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[39] Committee against Torture, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Greece,” CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, 27 June 2012, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx.

[40] European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them,” 2014, http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/criminalisation-migrants-irregular-situation-and-persons-engaging-them.

[41] Nikolaj Nielson, “Private security firms cash in on guarding EU borders," EU Observer, 25 September 2013, euobserver.com/priv-immigration/121454.

[42] Nikolaj Nielsen, "Private security firms bid on Greek asylum centres," EU Observer, 2 April 2014, https://euobserver.com/justice/123711.

[43] Greek Council for Refugees, Email correspondence with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), October 2017.

[44] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[45] For more detailed information on the Greek immigration detention estate as of 2014, see the Global Detention Project’s 2014 Immigration Detention Profile of Greece, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/immigration-detention-in-greece.

[46] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

[47] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[48] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece; Greek Council for Refugees, Telephone conversation with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), 24 August 2017; European Commission, “Report From the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council Seventh Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement,” COM(2017) 470, September 2017, http://bit.ly/2h2hev3.

[49] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[50] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[51] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[52] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[53] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[54] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[55] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[56] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[57] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[58] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[59] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[60] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[61] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[62] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[63] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[64] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[65] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[66] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[67] See the Global Detention Project’s 2014 Immigration Detention Profile of Greece, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/immigration-detention-in-greece.

[68] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[69] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[70] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[71] For more details, see the Global Detention Project’s 2014 Immigration Detention Profile of Greece, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/immigration-detention-in-greece.

[72] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[73] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[74] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[75] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[76] European Commission, “Report From the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council Seventh Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement,” COM(2017) 470, September 2017, http://bit.ly/2h2hev3.

[77] European Commission, “Report From the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council Seventh Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement,” COM(2017) 470, September 2017, http://bit.ly/2h2hev3; Ekathimerini, "Greece to accelerate return of migrants to Turkey as arrivals pick up," Ekathimerini, 2 April 2014, http://www.ekathimerini.com/217357/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-to-accelerate-return-of-migrants-to-turkey-as-arrivals-pick-up.

[78] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[79] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[80] European Court of Human Rights, “Tabesh v. Greece”, 8256/07, 26 November 2009, hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/Pages/search.aspx.

[81] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[82] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[83] AITIMA, “FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers,” October 2016, http://www.aitima.gr/index.php/en/news/324-10-october-2016-new-aitima-report-forgotten.

[84] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[85] European Court of Human Rights, “M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece,” 30696/09, 21 January 2011, hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx.

[86] For more information on these facilities, see the Global Detention Project’s 2014 Immigration Detention Profile of Greece, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/immigration-detention-in-greece.

[87] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 4 to 16 April 2013,” CPT/Inf (2014) 26, October 2014, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[88] The Greek Ombudsman, “Migration flows and refugee protection: Administrative challenges and human rights issues,” 2017, https://www.synigoros.gr/resources/docs/greek_ombudsman_migrants_refugees_2017_en.pdf; Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[89] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4, March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[90] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[91] Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[92] Efthalia Pappa, (Ecumenical Refugee Program), Email to Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), 12 November 2012.

[93] Kathimerini, “Migrants injured in protest against detention conditions in Igoumenitsa,” 24 October 2012, www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_24/10/2012_467141.

[94] Infomobile, “The new detention regime in Greece,” 9 September 2012, infomobile.w2eu.net/2012/09/09/the-new-detention-regime-in-greece/; Infomobile, “Afghan detainee of Xanthi in protest,” 12 November 2012, infomobile.w2eu.net/2012/11/12/afghan-detainee-in-xanthi-in-protest/.

[95] Efthalia Pappa, (Ecumenical Refugee Program), Email to Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), 12 November 2012.

[96] European Commission, “Hotspots State of Play,“ October 2017, http://bit.ly/2APgNvW.

[97] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx; European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece; Greek Council for Refugees, “Country report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece.

[98] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece,” A/HRC/35/25/Add.2, 24 April 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx; European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), “Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 13 to 18 April and 19 to 25 July 2016,” CPT/Inf (2017) 25, September 2017, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece.

[99] ECRE and GCR, “What’s in a name? The reality of First “Reception” at Evros,” 2015, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/resources/eu-greece-ecre-evros.pdf.

[100] Greek Council for Refugees, Email correspondence with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), October 2017.

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



14,864

Total number of immigration detainees by year

2016

  • Total number of immigration detainees by year
NumberObservation Date
14,8642016


4,072

Number of detained asylum seekers

2016

  • Number of detained asylum seekers
NumberObservation Date
4,0722016


204,820

Number of apprehensions of non-citizens

2016

  • Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
NumberObservation Date
204,8202016
911,4702015
73,6702014
42,6152013
72,4202012


6,290 - 7,570

Estimated total immigration detention capacity

2013

  • Estimated total immigration detention capacity
NumberObservation Date
6,290 - 7,5702013


9

Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres

2016

  • Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
NumberObservation Date
92016
152013


6,033

Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres

2016

  • Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
NumberObservation Date
6,0332016
7,2602013
5,9652013


0

Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres

2016

  • Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
NumberObservation Date
02016
02014


0

Number of immigration offices

2016

  • Number of immigration offices
NumberObservation Date
02016
02014


1

Number of transit facilities

2016

  • Number of transit facilities
NumberObservation Date
12016


13

Number of criminal facilities

2013

  • Number of criminal facilities
NumberObservation Date
132013


0

Number of ad hoc facilities

2016

  • Number of ad hoc facilities
NumberObservation Date
02016
02014


19,055

Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)

2016

  • Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
NumberObservation Date
19,0552016
14,3902015
27,0552014
25,4652013
16,6502012


36.7

Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures

2014

  • Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
PercentageObservation Date
36.72014
592013


9,566

Criminal prison population

2017

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
9,5662017
13,1472013
12,4792011


54.3

Percentage of foreign prisoners

2017

  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date
54.32017
63.22011


89

Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)

2017

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
892017
1202013
1112012



10,955,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
10,955,0002015
11,400,0002012


1,242,000

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
1,242,0002015
988,2002013


11.3

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2015

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
11.32015
8.92013


470,000 - 470,000

Estimated number of undocumented migrants

2013

  • Estimated number of undocumented migrants
NumberObservation Date
470,000 - 470,0002013


46,381

Refugees

2016

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
46,3812016
24,8382015
3,4852014
2,1002012


0.94

Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

2014

  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date
0.942014
0.192012
0.12011


58,134

Total number of new asylum applications

2016

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
58,1342016
9,4502014
8,2202013
9,5802012


198

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
1982016
2142015
1782014
1542012

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Civil law2017

Constitutional guarantees? Show sources
NameConstitution and ArticlesYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
YesConstitution of Greece, art. 619752008
No
Core pieces of national legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Law 4375/2015 on the organization and operation of the Asylum Service, the Appeals Authority, the Reception and Identification Service, the establishment of the General Secretariat for Reception, the transposition into Greek legislation of the provisions (Νόμος 4375/2016 «Οργάνωση και λειτουργία Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου, Αρχής Προσφυγών, Υπηρεσίας Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης σύσταση Γενικής Γραμματείας Υποδοχής, προσαρμογή της Ελληνικής Νομοθεσίας προς τις διατάξεις της Οδηγίας 2013/32/ΕΕ του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου και του Συμβουλίου «σχετικά με τις κοινές διαδικασίες για τη χορήγηση και ανάκληση του καθεστώτος διεθνούς προστασίας (αναδιατύπωση)» (L 180/29.6.2013), διατάξεις για την εργασία δικαιούχων διεθνούς προστασίας και άλλες διατάξεις)20152016
Law 3386/2005 on Entry, Residence and Social Integration of Third-Country Nationals on Greek Territory (Νόμος 3386/2005 «Είσοδος, διαμονή και κοινωνική ένταξη υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών στην Ελληνική Επικράτεια»)20052015
Law 3907/2011 on the Establishment of an Asylum Service and a First Reception Service (Nόμος 3907/2011 «Ίδρυση Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου και Υπηρεσίας Πρώτης Υποδοχής, προσαρμογή της ελληνικής νομοθεσίας προς τις διατάξεις της Οδηγίας 2008/115/ΕΚ «σχετικά με τους κοινούς κανόνες και διαδικασίες στα κράτη-μέλη για την επιστροφή των παρανόμως διαμενόντων υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών» και λοιπές διατάξεις»)20112016

Immigration-status-related grounds Show sources
NameObservation Date
Detention to prevent absconding2017
Detention to effect removal2017
Detention for failing to respect a voluntary removal order2017
Detention during the asylum process2017
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality2017
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation. Show sources
NameObservation Date
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds2017
Detention on health-related grounds2017

Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations? Show sources
FinesIncarcerationObservation Date
YesYes2014
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration Show sources
Grounds for IncarcerationMaximum Number of Days of IncarcerationObservation Date
Unauthorized re-entry2017
Unauthorized entry2014
Unauthorized exit2014

Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law. Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
5402017
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
32017
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
902017
5402014

Provision of basic procedural standards Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Information to detaineesYes2017
Right to legal counselYes2017
Independent review of detentionYes2017
Compensation for unlawful detentionNo2017
Access to free interpretation servicesNoNo2013
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detentionYesNo2013

Types of non-custodial measures Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Supervised release and/or reportingYesNo2014
Release on bailYesNo2014
Registration (deposit of documents)YesNo2014
Designated non-secure housingYesNo2014
Electronic monitoringNoNo2014

Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice? Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Accompanied minorsProvidedYes2016
Survivors of tortureYes2016
Unaccompanied minorsProvidedYes2016
Asylum seekersProvidedYes2014
Stateless personsProvided2014
ElderlyNot mentioned2014
Pregnant womenNot mentioned2014

Mandatory detention Show sources
FilterNameObservation Date
NoNo2017

Re-entry ban Show sources
NameObservation Date
Yes2017

International Law Expand all

International treaties Show sources
NameRatification Year
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance2015
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2012
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children2011
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime2011
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights1997
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child1993
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment1988
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights1985
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women1983
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons1975
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations1975
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination1970
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1968
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1960
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  14/19
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities2012
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19991999
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19661997
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention1988
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
NumberObservation Date
4/6
4/6
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination§23. The Committee calls on the State party to increase its efforts to implement the specific rights of persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution who arrive on its shores. The Committee also calls on the State party to ensure the respect of the rights of migrants arriving in the same migratory flows as refugees and asylum seekers. Such efforts could also be stepped up through strengthened international cooperation, in particular by European Union countries. The Committee further urges the State party to: (a) Eliminate the automatic detention of migrants arriving on the islands after the conclusion of the statement by the European Union and Turkey on migration, introduce alternatives to detention, ensure that those deprived of their liberty enjoy due process and take measures to convert the reception and identifications centres on the islands into open centres; (b) Take immediate measures to improve the living conditions in reception and identification centres and ensure that everyone in those centres has access to medical care, interpreters, adequate food and social support; (c) Uphold the rule of law in reception and identification centres and redouble its measures to protect everyone staying in those centres from all forms of violence; [...]2016
Human Rights Committee§28:The State party should ensure that detention of all irregular migrants is reasonably necessary and proportionate and for the shortest possible period of time, and that alternatives to detention are available in law and implemented in practice. In particular , the State party must ensure that any decision to detain asylum seekers and refugees is based on their individual circumstances and takes into account less invasive means of achieving the same end. The State party should also strengthen its efforts to ensure, in cooperation with its regional and international partners , decent living conditions in all reception and detention centres for migrants and asylum seekers , by providing adequate health- care services, food , sanitary conditions and access to transportation . It should also ensure that conditions in the new reception “ hotspots ” are adequate .2015
Committee on the Rights of the Child§ 65 (a): Ensure that children, either separated or together with their families, who enter the country in an irregular manner, are not detained, or remain in detention only in very exceptional circumstances and for the shortest period of time necessary.2012
Committee against Torture§ 20: The State party should ensure that administrative detention on the grounds of irregular entry is not applied to asylum seekers. In particular, detention of asylum seekers should be used only in exceptional circumstances or as a measure of last resort, on grounds specifically prescribed by law, and then only for the shortest possible time. To this end, alternatives to detention should be duly examined and exhausted, especially with regard to vulnerable groups. The State party should also take urgent and effective measures to improve conditions of administrative detention through alleviation of overcrowding, appointment of a sufficient number of trained staff, and provision of basic supplies, such as medical care and treatment, adequate food, water and personal hygiene items in any facility used for the detention of foreign nationals.

§21: The Committee urges the State party to repeal the provision permitting detention of migrants and asylum seekers on public health grounds and replace detention on such grounds with the appropriate medical measures.

§22:  The State party should strengthen its efforts to provide adequate protection and proper care in respect of unaccompanied or separated minors entering the country, including by promptly amending its legislation to prohibit their detention. T he Committee concurs with the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior should cooperate closely to ensure that they are placed in suitable and separate reception centres.

2012

Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints Show sources
NameDecision DetailsObservation Date
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Mahammad and others v. Greece, 48352/12, 15 January 2015.2015
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Tatishvili v. Greece, 26452/11, 31 July 2014.2014
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)A.F. v. Greece, 53709/11, 7 October 2013.2013
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Horshill v. Greece, 70427/11, 1 August 2013.2013
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Khuroshvili v. Greece. 58165/10. ECtHR. 12 December 20132013
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Mahmundi and others v. Greece. 14902/10. ECtHR. 31 July 20122012
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Bygylashvili v. Greece. 58164/10. ECtHR. 25 September 20122012
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Lin v. Greece. 58158/10. ECtHR. 6 November 20122012
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece. 30696/09. ECtHR. 21 January 20112011
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Rahimi v. Greece. 8687/08. ECtHR. 5 April 20112011
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)R.U. v. Greece. 2237/08. ECtHR. 7 June 20112011
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Efremidze v. Greece. 33225/08. ECtHR. 21 June 20112011
Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU)N.S and M.E. Joined Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10. 21 December 2011. 2011
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)A.A. v. Greece. 12186/08. ECtHR. 22 July 20102010
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)S.D. v. Greece. 53541/07. 11 June 20092009
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)Tabesh v. Greece. 8256/07. ECtHR. 26 November 20092009
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation YearObservation Date
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)§28: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities clarify the status of the foreign nationals detained at Section B of the Moria Centre by providing them with individual detention orders. Further, if it is their intention to continue to use the compound as a place of (de facto) detention, the Greek authorities should radically improve the conditions of detention at the section.

§34: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities pursue their efforts to increase swiftly and significantly the number of dedicated open (or semi-open) shelter facilities for UASC (e.g. social welfare/educative institutions for juveniles). In this respect, the Committee would like to receive updated information on the number of UASC that are currently being held in “protective custody” in Greece (in either police stations, immigration detention facilities or RICs) and on the Greek authorities’ plans to create additional capacity in open shelter facilities for UASC as well as the expected timeline. In the meantime, the creation of short-term transit shelter spaces as alternatives to detention should be prioritised in cooperation with specialised international organisations as well as international and national NGOs.

§35:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary measures to end immigration detention of UASC. Law 4375/2016 should be amended accordingly. Further, children should always be provided with the special care and protection they require in line with the principle of best interests of the child.

§40:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate child protective steps in all the RICs, so as to ensure that all UASC held in these centres are effectively protected. In addition, UASC in protective custody must be provided with proper care and support by qualified professionals, including as regards the processing of their individual cases.

§42:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities no longer detain UASC in the RICs in line with the principle of the best interests of the child both in terms of special care and protection as well as conditions and immediately transfer them to more suitable shelter facilities.

§43:  The Greek authorities must ensure that UASC are never detained beyond the time-limit provided by the law.

§44:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities ensure that the necessary procedures are put in place to allow that proper age assessments are carried out in all the RICs and that the persons concerned can effectively appeal the outcome of their age assessments; if necessary, the relevant legislation should be amended.

§47:  The CPT recommends that immediate steps be taken to fix the drainage system at Amygdaleza Special holding facility for unaccompanied children.

§48:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities immediately stop using Petrou Ralli Special holding facility for irregular migrants for holding UASC. It also reiterates that Amygdaleza Special holding facility for unaccompanied children should no longer be used for detaining UASC. If, exceptionally, they are held in this latter facility for short periods pending its closure, they should be provided with:  decent and hygienic material conditions;  bed linen, sufficient hygiene products and the possibility to wash their clothes;  access to their personal belongings and to their mobile phones;  several hours of organised activities every day, and possibilities to exercise in the fresh air outside of the small barred covered yard. Further, it should be staffed with properly trained men and women, including a social worker and a psychologist, and offer a range of age appropriate purposeful activities.

§49:  the CPT recommends that the Greek authorities end the detention of UASC in police or border guard stations.

§50:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities end all detention of parents with children in police and border guard stations.

§53:  The practice of handcuffing persons to fixed objects should be ended immediately. The CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities take rigorous action to counter acts of ill-treatment in holding facilities for irregular migrants. That action should include instigating effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment and establishing an effective complaints system regarding alleged ill-treatment by the police. Further, all police officers assigned to custodial tasks in such holding facilities should be provided with appropriate training in inter-personal skills and be regularly reminded that any ill-treatment of detainees, including of a verbal nature, will be punished accordingly.

§55:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate steps to take out of service definitively Drapetsona Police Station. Further, the Committee once again calls upon the Greek authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that all irregular migrants currently detained in police stations are transferred without delay to centres specifically designed to meet the requirements of this population and staffed by suitably-qualified personnel.

§57:  The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate steps to ensure that every person detained at Thessaloniki Special holding facility for irregular migrants is provided with a clean mattress and bedding, that all cells are disinfested, and that, for public health reasons, medical screening is carried out upon admission and a doctor and a nurse are present several hours each day.

§59:  The CPT recommends that all persons placed in (Athens Airport holding facilities) be properly recorded in a register.

§61:  The CPT once again calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that, in all holding facilities:  all detainees are provided with full information, in a language they understand, on their legal situation and interpretation services are made available if required;  all detainees are offered a bed or plinth, mattresses, blanket and bedding, all clean and regularly cleaned and disinfected;  all detainees are offered at least one hour of outdoor exercise a day;  all detainees have access to their personal belongings, including mobile phones;  each facility has a common association room, equipped with a television and reading material;  a programme of activities (educational, recreational and vocational) is developed;  all detainees are provided with sufficient quantities of food, water, personal hygiene and cleaning products, and medication, all free of charge;  regular maintenance work and disinfection is carried out and sufficient funding is made available to this end. Further, the CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that, at Petrou Ralli and Thessaloniki holding facilities:  medical screening is systematically carried out upon admission;  a doctor and at least one nurse are present every day, including on weekends;  visiting specialists, including psychiatrists and dentists regularly attend;  a system is established (e.g. written requests to be directly collected by health care personnel) to allow detainees to directly request consultations with health-care staff;  medical confidentiality is strictly guaranteed;  self-harm and suicide preventive measures are put in place. The CPT would also like to be informed of the procedures in place to expedite the return of persons who volunteer to return to their country of origin, especially when they are willing to purchase their own air tickets.

20172017
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

§105: The Committee recommends that the Greek authorities make every effort to end the detention of unaccompanied minors in police detention facilities. Further, if exceptionally they are deprived of their liberty as a last resort, they should be offered opportunities to enjoy outdoor exercise and participate in purposeful out-of-cell activities.

§108: the CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that unaccompanied minors, who are deprived of their liberty as a last resort, are only held in centres designed to cater to their specific needs, staffed with properly trained men and women and offering a range of ageappropriate purposeful activities. More specifically, the Committee recommends once again that the Amygdaleza Special holding facility no longer be used for the detention of unaccompanied minors; instead, more suitable premises, preferably open, should be found, which meet the above-mentioned requirements for such a facility. It also goes without saying that the Petrou Ralli Special holding facility for irregular migrants is totally unsuitable for holding unaccompanied minors and they should not be held there.

§113: The CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that irregular migrants deprived of their liberty be accommodated in centres specifically designed for that purpose, offering material conditions and a regime appropriate to their legal situation and staffed by suitably-qualified personnel.

20162016
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

§ 44: juveniles to no longer be detained at Iasmos Police Station and instead to be placed in an establishment appropriate to their needs; § 51: the Greek authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that detained irregular migrants are transferred without delay to centres specifically designed to meet the requirements of this population, having due regard to the CPT’s criteria for places of detention for irregular migrants. Similarly, strenuous efforts should be made to transfer all persons on remand or sentenced to imprisonment to an appropriate penitentiary establishment; § 51: the Greek authorities to take concerted steps to ensure that: occupancy rates in police and border guard stations are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4 m² of living space per detainee in multi-occupancy accommodation; women are held separately from men; all persons detained have ready access to a proper toilet facility at all times, including at night; each detained person is provided with a clean mattress, clean blanket, clean bedding and a means of rest, such as a plinth or a bed; the provision of food for detained persons is adequate and appropriate, and includes one hot meal a day for persons detained longer than a few days; all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours are provided with a basic sanitary kit (including adequate rations of soap, washing powder, toilet paper, shampoo, shaving utensils and toothpaste, and a toothbrush), free of charge; all detained persons are provided with sufficient quantities of detergent to keep their cells clean; detention areas (including sanitary facilities) are maintained in an adequate state of repair and cleanliness; all detained persons have access to adequate lighting; all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours have access to a shower and to hot water; all persons detained longer than 24 hours are offered access to outdoor exercise every; § 51: for so long as persons continue to be detained for prolonged periods in police and border guard stations, the provision of health-care in such facilities to be reviewed; § 51: the Greek authorities to give due consideration to establishing posts of specialised custodial staff for persons detained by law enforcement agencies; § 55: the Greek authorities to draw up detailed regulations for dealing with persons who commit an act of self-harm or attempt suicide. Further, every placement in the “separation” cell at the Igoumenitsa Coast Guard detention facility should be fully recorded in a register. The conditions in the cell should also be radically improved; § 64: the practice of handcuffing persons to a fence, encountered at Amygdaleza pre-departure centre, to be ended immediately; § 64: the Greek authorities to take rigorous action to counter acts of ill-treatment in immigration detention centres. That action should include instigating investigations into any allegations of ill-treatment; § 64: all police officers assigned to custodial tasks in such centres to be provided with appropriate training in inter-personal skills and to be regularly reminded that any ill-treatment of detainees, including of a verbal nature, will be punished accordingly; § 66: all future interventions by external units to meet the requirements set out in paragraph 64, including independent monitoring: § 72: with respect to the pre-departure centres, the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that: official occupancy rates are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4 m² of space per detainee in multi-occupancy accommodation, and are respected in practice; all multi-occupancy rooms are equipped with tables and chairs commensurate with the number of persons detained and each person is provided with personal lockable space; detainees are offered clean bedding and the ability to wash their clothes; all detainees are offered at least one hour of outdoor exercise every day; a programme of activities (educational, recreational and vocational) is developed in each centre; at least one common association room, equipped with television and games, is established in every centre; every centre is equipped with a multi-faith room; detainees are provided with sufficient quantities of personal hygiene and cleaning products (including washing powder); § 72: steps to be taken to ensure that regular maintenance work is carried out in all pre-departure centres; § 77: with respect to the special holding facilities, the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that: official occupancy rates are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4 m² of space per detainee in multi-occupancy accommodation, and are respected in practice; all detainees are offered a bed or plinth, mattress, blanket and bedding, all clean; all detainees have ready access to toilet facilities, including at night; all detainees are offered at least one hour of outdoor exercise a day; each facility has a common association room, equipped with television and games, and a room for prayers; regular maintenance work and disinfection is carried out and sufficient funding is made available to this end; sufficient quantities of detergent and products for personal hygiene are made available at all times to detainees; § 77: for persons detained longer than a few days in a special holding facility, a programme of activities (educational, recreational and vocational) to be developed; § 80: the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that unaccompanied children, who are deprived of their liberty as a last resort, are only held in centres designed to cater to their specific needs, staffed with properly trained men and women and offering a range of constructive activities; § 80: all unaccompanied minors to be provided with a guardian who keeps them informed of their legal situation and effectively protects their interests; § 80: the Amygdaleza Special holding facility no longer to be used for the detention of unaccompanied minors; instead, more suitable premises, preferably open, should be found, which meet the requirements set out in paragraph 79 for such a facility; § 81: steps to be taken to put in place contingency plans in each pre-departure centre to manage unaccompanied minors in accordance with their status (paragraph 81); § 81: police officers to be reminded to accurately record the ages provided by apprehended irregular migrants); § 81: persons who claim to be juveniles to be treated as such until proven otherwise, unless the claim is manifestly unfounded; § 83: the Greek authorities to review the staffing of immigration detention centres, in the light of the remarks in paragraphs 82 and 83; § 83: staff not to openly carry batons inside the accommodation areas of immigration detention centres; § 83: if it is considered necessary for riot control equipment to be available on site, that equipment to be stored in a designated facility out of the view of detained persons; § 85: the health-care team at the Amygdaleza pre-departure centre to be reinforced, in the light of the remarks in paragraph 84. The number of doctors and nurses should be increased significantly and provision made for a dentist to attend the centre; § 85: steps to be taken to ensure that an adequate health-care presence is provided at the Metagogon (Transfer) Centre in Thessaloniki; § 85: provision to be made for a psychiatrist to visit all the immigration detention centres and the psychologists to take a more proactive role in supporting detainees; § 87: the Greek authorities to pursue their efforts to ensure that every newly-arrived detainee is properly interviewed and physically examined by a medical doctor or by a fully qualified nurse reporting to a doctor, as soon as possible after his/her admission to a pre-departure centre or special holding facility; § 88: all detained irregular migrants to be provided with full information, in a language they understand, on their legal situation and to be informed in advance of their right to be represented by a lawyer at the detention review hearings before the administrative courts and of their right to challenge the detention measure in deportation cases; § 90: house rules to be adopted for each pre-departure centre and special holding facility, which should be clearly posted in the accommodation areas in languages understood by the detainee population; § 91: appropriate visiting facilities to be set up in all immigration detention centres enabling detained persons to meet with their visitors in an amenable and open setting (e.g. around a table) with an area set aside for children who visit. Immediate steps should be taken to establish a proper visiting area at the Amygdaleza pre-departure centre; § 92: the Greek authorities to permit persons detained in immigration detention centres to retain their mobile phones and the relevant regulations to be amended accordingly.

20142014
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

§ 15: the Greek authorities to take rigorous action to counter any acts of ill-treatment being committed; that action should include instigating investigations into all allegations of illtreatment, all police officers to be reminded that any ill-treatment will be the subject of severe penalties; § 21: the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that the specific measures enumerated in the immediate observations referred to in paragraph 9 are implemented in respect of Feres, Soufli and Tychero Police and Border Guard stations; § 26: the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to implement the specific measures enumerated in the immediate observations referred to in paragraph 9 as regards Filakio Special holding facility; § 28:the Greek authorities to permit irregular migrants to have access to a change of clothes. Further, the authorities should put in place a clear system for recording the belongings of all detained irregular migrants and should give them a receipt for all items which they hand in before entering the detention areas; § 38: the Greek authorities to ensure that irregular migrants are only detained in centres specifically designed to meet the requirements of this population, having due regard to the Committee’s criteria for places of detention for irregular migrants, as formulated in its 7th and 19th General Reports. Particular care should be taken to cater to the specific needs of minors and other vulnerable groups, with respect to the facilities visited by the CPT in 2011, the Greek authorities to ensure that: all detainees are offered a bed or plinth, bedding and mattress, all clean, all detainees have ready access to toilet facilities, including at night, all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours are provided, on a regular basis, with a basic sanitary kit (including adequate rations of soap, washing powder, toilet paper, shampoo, shaving utensils and toothpaste, and a toothbrush) free of charge, sufficient quantities of detergent and products for personal hygiene are made available at all times to detainees, all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours have access to a shower and to hot water, detainees are permitted to change their clothes, detention areas (including sanitary facilities) are maintained in an adequate state of repair and cleanliness, family units are kept together, female detainees are held in an area which is separated from that accommodating male detainees, and that their privacy is guaranteed, all detainees are offered at least one hour of outdoor exercise a day, the provision of food for detained persons is adequate and appropriate, call bells are installed in all detention areas where staff are not continuously present, occupancy rates are respected, and where necessary revised, so as to offer a minimum of 4m² of space per detainee in multi-occupancy accommodation; § 39: the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to draw up and implement, as soon as possible, operating standards for both the special facilities for irregular migrants and police holding facilities, guaranteeing, inter alia, a regime offering activities and recreation; § 40: the Greek authorities to take adequate measures to ensure the provision of medical care on a regular basis at all facilities where irregular migrants are held; § 41: the Greek authorities to give due consideration to the proposal to establish posts of specialised custodial staff for persons detained by law enforcement agencies; § 42: the Greek authorities to review the staff complement attached to each special facility for irregular migrants and police holding facility, the Greek authorities to provide adequate training for staff working in dedicated detention facilities for irregular migrants; § 43: all detained persons to be provided with clear information on their situation, in a language that they understand; § 44: an independent inspection system for law enforcement detention facilities to be established.

20122012
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

§ 133: ECRI further recommends taking measures to improve the conditions in detention centres for asylum seekers. ECRI wishes to recall in this regard, that the detention of asylum seekers should be used as a last recourse, when no other viable options are available; § 164 ECRI recommends that the Greek authorities take measures to provide unfettered access by UNHCR and NGOs to immigrants placed in detention centres, and that a more formal system be established to that end.

20092009

Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission Show sources
NameYear in ForceObservation Date
France20042017
Italy20012017
Turkey20012017
Latvia20002017
Lithuania20042017
Poland19962017
Romania19952017
Russian Federation20042017
Switzerland20092017
Turkey20022017
Albania19952017
Bulgaria19982017
Croatia19962017
China19962017
Egypt20002017
Cape Verde (EU agreement)20132013
Georgia (EU agreement)20112011
Pakistan (EU agreement)20102010
Macedonia (EU agreement)20082008
Moldova (EU agreement)20082008
Montenegro (EU agreement)20082008
Serbia (EU agreement)20082008
Ukraine (EU agreement)20082008
Bosnia-Herzegovina (EU agreement)20082008
Russia (EU agreement)20072007
Albania (EU agreement)20062006
Sri Lanka (EU agreement)20052005
Hong Kong (EU agreement)20042004
Macao (EU agreement)20042004

Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council Show sources
NameYear of VisitObservation Date
Working Group on arbitrary detention2013
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants2012
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment2010
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography2005
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants2016
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation YearObservation Date
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants§121. Urgently consider alternatives to detention for all migrants, and especially unaccompanied minors and families with children. Detention should only be ordered in exceptional circumstances, as provided in Law 4375/2016, article 46, and in the European Union Returns Directive.

§122:  Conduct individual assessments of the limited number of migrants for whom detention is necessary and provide documentation of the individualized reasons why it is necessary.

§123:  Strictly refrain from detaining unaccompanied minors or families with children, in conformity with the principles of the best interests of the child and of family unity.

§124:  Further improve detention conditions and procedural safeguards, and develop appropriate regulations for all detention facilities, in line with international human rights standards.

§125:  Ensure full access to all detention facilities for lawyers and civil society organizations, and continue to ensure a system of systematic, independent monitoring of detention centres.

§126:  Provide appropriate detention conditions in all centres, including in pre-removal centers, and ensure that all migrants deprived of their liberty are able to promptly contact their family, to have access to a lawyer who should be free of charge if necessary, to seek asylum if the migrant requests it, to have access to a doctor and to an interpreter as necessary, to have access to their mobile phones, and to have the capacity to promptly challenge their detention.

§127:  Ensure that standards in all facilities in which migrants are held meet the standards established by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CPT standards”, 2013 revision) addressing specifically the special needs and status of migrants in detention, and by the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

§128:  Ensure, in cooperation with regional and international partners, more appropriate long-term accommodation arrangements, and urgently establish decent living conditions in all reception and detention centres for migrants and asylum seekers by providing adequate health-care services, food, and sanitary conditions.

§129:  Provide clear and systematic information regarding all migration policies to all stakeholders, including migrants themselves and all those who have a responsibility to promote and protect the human rights of migrants, such as government officials, international organizations, civil society and lawyers. Provide human rights training to all government officials working with migrants, especially those who receive them at borders and in detention.

§130:  Appoint camp management immediately for every hotspot and every open camp, in charge of coordinating activities of all actors and protecting the human rights of all migrants. Provide clear and public information about the authority of the management at the central level.

20162016
Working Group on arbitrary detention§ 118 (c): End the policy of systematic detention of all migrants in an irregular situation, and instead explore alternatives to detention. Detention should be a measure of last resort, limited to cases where there is a risk of the person absconding or when the person poses a threat to her or his own security or public security. The duration of detention should be limited to the minimum time necessary to carry out removal or other proceedings. Less coercive measures should always be considered before resorting to detention, in accordance with Law No. 3907/2011; (d) Significantly improve detention conditions and procedural safeguards, and develop appropriate regulations for all detention facilities, in accordance with international human rights standards. In particular, it should: (i) Systematically inform detained migrants in writing, in a language that they understand, of the reason for their detention, its duration, their right to have access to a lawyer, the right to promptly challenge their detention, and to seek asylum; (ii) Ensure that all migrants deprived of their liberty are able to contact promptly their family, consular services and a lawyer, free of charge; (iii) Ensure that all detained migrants have access to proper medical care, an interpreter, adequate food and clothes, hygienic conditions, adequate space to move around and access to outdoor exercise. § 119: The Working Group also recommends that: (a) At the time of detention, detainees be provided in writing, in a language they understand, with the grounds for their detention, clearly and exhaustively defined; (b) Detainees be provided with a written explanation of their rights and how to exercise them. § 120: The legality of detention must be open for challenge before a court, and a regular review should be conducted within a fixed time limit. Each decision to detain should be reviewed to confirm its necessity and compliance with international legal standards by means of a prompt oral hearing by a court or similar competent independent and impartial review, accompanied by appropriate legal aid. In the event that continued detention is authorized, detainees should be able to initiate further challenges against their detention. § 121: Detainees should be held in special immigration detention centres in conditions appropriate for their status, and not together with persons charged with or convicted of criminal offences (unless so charged or convicted themselves). § 122: Detainees should be given adequate access to their legal representatives, relatives and officials of UNHCR. § 123: The Government should limit the use of detention to appropriate cases, such as of asylum seekers whose application has been rejected after the asylum determination process (namely, when the incentive to abscond has increased) or where removal is imminent and there are reasons to believe it cannot be effected unless the individual is detained. The power to detain should not be exercised if the person concerned is, on the basis of substantiated evidence, fully integrated into the society from which that person’s removal is sought. § 124: Alternative and non-custodial measures, such as reporting requirements, should always be considered before resorting to detention. § 125: Detaining authorities should be required to establish a compelling need to detain that is based on the personal history of each individual asylum seeker. § 126: Any review body should be independent of the detaining authority. § 127: Specialized non-governmental organizations, UNHCR and legal representatives should have access to all places of detention. § 128: All staff members of detention facilities should receive training on the special situation and needs of asylum seekers in detention. § 129: Effective measures should be taken to ensure that migrants have full access to lawyers and interpreters to appeal deportation decisions, and to prevent the refoulement of persons in need of international protection. § 130: The Government should refrain from detaining unaccompanied minors and families with children, in conformity with the principles of the best interests of the child and of family unity. § 131: The Government should continue to facilitate, where possible, the voluntary return of migrants who are willing to return to their countries, as opposed to deportation proceedings, in full accordance with international human rights law. § 132: Lawyers and civil society organizations should be ensured full access to all detention facilities, and a systematic, independent monitoring system should be established for them. § 133: All detained persons claiming protection concerns should be adequately informed of their right to seek asylum and be able to file an asylum application and communicate with UNHCR, lawyers and civil society organizations. § 134: The Government should strengthen, through the provision of competent staff and resources, the Office of the Ombudsman and the National Commission for Human Rights in order to allow them to effectively accomplish their mission of human rights protection and promotion for all, including migrants, regardless of their administrative status, including by undertaking regular unannounced visits to detention facilities throughout national territory. 20142014
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants§ 98: End the policy of systematic detention of all irregular migrants and instead explore alternatives to detention. Detention should be a measure of last resort, limited to cases where there is a risk of absconding or when the person poses a threat to his or her own or public security; duration of detention should be limited to the minimum time necessary to carry out removal or other proceedings. Less coercive measures should always be considered before resorting to detention, in line with Law 3907/2011 and the EU Returns Directive. § 99: Significantly improve detention conditions and procedural safeguards, and develop appropriate regulations for all detention facilities, in line with international human rights standards. In particular: (a) Ensure that all detained migrants have access to proper medical care, an interpreter, adequate food and clothes, hygienic conditions, adequate space to move around and access to outdoor exercise; (b) Systematically inform detained migrants in writing, in a language they understand, of the reason for their detention, its duration, their right to have access to a lawyer, the right to promptly challenge their detention and to seek asylum; (c) Ensure that all migrants deprived of their liberty are able to promptly contact their family, consular services and a lawyer, free of charge. § 100: Refrain from detaining children and families with children, in conformity with the principles of the best interests of the child and of family unity. Shelters should be established, particularly for these categories of migrants. § 101: Continue to facilitate, where possible, the voluntary return of migrants who are willing to return to their countries, as opposed to deportation proceedings, in full accordance with international human rights law. § 102: Ensure full access to all detention facilities for lawyers and civil society organizations, and implement a system of systematic, independent monitoring of detention centres. 20132013
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment§ 89(8): Promptly proceed with the reform of the system of detention of aliens, resorting to detention only as a last resort and if absolutely necessary and proportionate in the individual case. Vulnerable groups, including asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, families, single women, persons with disabilities should in principle not be detained. Women should always be separated from men and children from adults; (9) In the interim, take measures to improve the treatment and standard of care of irregular migrants and refugees held in all detention facilities, including legislative provisions to ensure that those arrested while trying to enter or leave the country on false documents are not detained for a prolonged period; (10). Enact minimum operating standards for special detention facilities for migrants in compliance with international human rights law; (11). Re-negotiate the Readmission Agreement with Turkey out of concern that Turkey is not complying with minimum standards for the detention of irregular migrants and failing to protect refugees from being summarily returned to Iran, Iraq, or the Syrian Arab Republic.20112011
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography§ 113: The authorities should end the detention of alien minors for illegal entry into the country and refer the children to institutions of special care. § 114: In relation to the detention centre for irregular migrants awaiting deportation of Petrou Ralli, the Special Rapporteur recommends taking appropriate measures to improve the conditions of detention of migrants and striking a better balance between security concerns and the dignity and protection needs of detained migrants.20062006
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
Yes20162017
Yes2011

Institutions Expand all

Federal or centralized governing system Show sources
Federal or centralized governing systemObservation Date
Centralized system2017
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority Show sources
Centralized or decentralized immigration authorityObservation Date
Centralized immigration authority2016

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2016
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2012
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2009
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2008
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2007
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2006
Hellenic Police/ Ministry of Public OrderJustice2003
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2003
Hellenic Coast Guard / Ministry of Mercantile Marine2002
Ministry of Public Order and Citizen ProtectionInternal or Public Security2001
Coast Guard2001
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
PoliceGovernmental2016
PoliceGovernmental2013
Coast Guard PoliceGovernmental2013
First Reception ServiceGovernmental2013
PoliceGovernmental2012
Attika Foreigners DirectorateGovernmental2009
Lesvos Prefectural GovernmentGovernmental2009
Harbour OfficeGovernmental2003
Formally designated detention estate? Show sources
Formally designated immigration detention estate?Types of officially designated detention centresObservation Date
YesDedicated immigration detention facilities2017
Types of detention facilities used in practice Show sources
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)Immigration field office (Administrative)Transit centre (Administrative)Reception centre (Administrative)Offshore detention centre (Administrative)Hospital (Administrative)Border guard (Administrative)Police station (Criminal)National penitentiary (Criminal)Local prison (Criminal)Juvenile detention centre (Criminal)Informal camp (Ad hoc)Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)Surge facility (Ad hoc)Observation Date
YesYesYesYes2016

Authorized monitoring institutions Show sources
InstitutionInstitution TypeObservation Date
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment International or Regional Bodies (IRBs)2016
Greek OmbudsmanOPCAT National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)2016
AITIMANon-Governmental Organizations (NGO)2016
Greek Council of RefugeesNon-Governmental Organizations (NGO)2014
Medecins sans FrontieresNon-Governmental Organizations (NGO)2014
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention International or Regional Bodies (IRBs)2014
Greek OmbudsmanNational Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI)2011
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent? Show sources
Is the NHRI recognized as independent by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions?Observation Date
Yes2016
Does NHRI carry out visits? Show sources
Does NHRI carry out visits in practice?Observation Date
Yes2016
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention? Show sources
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?Observation Date
Yes2016
Does national preventive mechanism (NPM) carry out visits? Show sources
Does NPM carry out visits in practice?Observation Date
Yes2016
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention? Show sources
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention?Observation Date
Yes2016
Do NGOs carry out visits? Show sources
Do NGOs regularly carry our visits?Observation Date
Yes2016
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention? Show sources
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?Observation Date
Yes2016
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities? Show sources
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRB) regularly visit immigration-related detention facilities?Observation Date
Yes2016
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections? Show sources
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?Observation Date
Yes2016

Types of privatisation/outsourcing Show sources
Types of Privatisation/OutsourcingObservation Date
Health services2013
Detention contractors and other non-state entities Show sources
Name of entityType of entityDetainee transportFood servicesHealth careSocial servicesLaundry servicesLegal counsellingManagementOwner of detention facilityRecreationSecurityTelephone serviceTranslation servicesObservation Date
Medical InterventionNot for profitYes2013
Medecins sans FrontièresNot for profitYes2013

Does the country receive external sources of funding? Show sources
Benefitted from non-state funding sources?Observation Date
Yes2017
Description of foreign assistance Show sources
Description of non-state assistanceObservation Date
EU financial assistance: On 16 August 2017, the national programme for Greece under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund was revised to reinforce the policy priorities for integration and return with additional funds (EUR 28 million). This brings the total amount allocated to Greece's national programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund to EUR 537 million available for the 2014-2020 period. In addition, substantial emergency assistance from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, amounting to approximately EUR 371.2 million, has been provided since 2015 to help Greece reinforce its reception facilities and strengthen the country's migration, asylum and border management capacities. As of 4 September 2017, EUR 410.6 million of the Instrument for Emergency Support within the EU has been contracted with 15 humanitarian partners.2017

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
21,4982014
21,9102013
22,0832012
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
823,900,0002015
1,6292011
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
1,9322010
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
26.32014
9.52009
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD) Show sources
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in USD)Observation Date
3272012
4252011
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
29Very high2015
29Very high2014
29Very high2012

Immigration Index Score Show sources
Immigration Integration RankingObservation Date
162011
World Bank Rule of Law Index Show sources
Percentile rank among all countries (ranges from 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest) rank)Estimate of governance (ranges from approximately -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong) )Observation Date
64-12012
67-0.72011
67-0.82010

Country Links


Additional Resources


The EU Hotspot Approach: Hotspots and Plethora of Freedom-Restricting Measures

This themed blog series organized by GDP Researcher Izabella Majcher for the Oxford University-based Border Criminologies examines the EU hotspot approach from the perspective of the right to liberty and freedom of movement, highlighting the unclear division of roles and responsibilities between EU agencies and host member states, the blurred line between detention and reception, substandard material conditions, a lack of transparency, and differential treatment based on nationality, among a host of other concerns.

Immigration Detention in Greece

Greece is a key focus in Europe’s efforts to halt irregular migration flows. However, the country’s immigration detention laws and practices have been repeatedly denounced by observers, who have pointed to numerous abuses, including the systematic use of detention of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers, the failure to apply alternatives to detention, appalling conditions in […]

January 2018 Newsletter

  Welcome to the Global Detention Project’s monthly roundup of recent publications and activities. For any questions about our content, please contact us at admin@globaldetentionproject.org   OUR LATEST PUBLICATIONS   Italy’s Confusing and Arbitrary Detention System. As the main European destination for asylum seekers and undocumented migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean by boat, Italy confronts significant […]

Capitalism and Immigration Control: What Political Economy Reveals about the Growth of Detention Systems: GDP Working Paper #16

Assessments of the political economy of detention point to a key challenge that is common to countries across the globe: how economic insecurities of host population’s translate into xenophobia and ethno-nationalist demands for more deportations, detentions, and walls.

The Immigration Detention Puzzle

We should be shocked that so many countries fail to provide even basic details about their immigration detention practices. And yet, for those who have worked on this issue over the last two decades, the absence of public accountability about detention comes as no surprise.

The Detention of Asylum Seekers in the Mediterranean Region

With the recent tragic surge in the number of deaths at sea of asylum seekers and other migrants attempting to reach Europe, enormous public attention is being focused on the treatment of these people across the Mediterranean. An important migration policy employed throughout the region is detention, including widespread deprivation of liberty of asylum seekers […]

Immigration Detention in Greece

Rethinking Pre-removal Immigration Detention in the United States: Lessons from Europe and Proposals for Reform

In this article for Refugee Survey Quarterly, Christina Fialho, a former research intern at the Global Detention Project and founder of the California-based Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), examines the legality of lengthy detention of non-citizens held in pre-removal immigration detention in the United States, while presenting a comparative analysis of the European Union and […]

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