Greece

31,126

Immigration detainees

2018

18,204

Detained asylum seekers

2018

255

Detained children

2016

8

Long-term centres

2018

92,661

New asylum applications

2019

Overview

A critical entry point for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers into the EU, Greece has been a key focus in Europe’s efforts to halt refugee flows. Since the EU-Turkey agreement in 2016, a policy of geographical restriction has left large numbers of people stranded on the Aegean islands for months in conditions that observers have denounced as appalling and verging on a humanitarian catastrophe. The country’s immigration detention practices have been repeatedly condemned, including the detention of children in facilities that are unequipped to provide for their needs, the lack of individualised assessment, the use of police stations for immigration detention purposes, and conditions across much of its detention estate that amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

23 November 2020

A Dinghy Carrying Refugees from Gambia and the Republic of the Congo Approaches Lesbos, Greece, February 2020, (Aris Messinis, AFP,
A Dinghy Carrying Refugees from Gambia and the Republic of the Congo Approaches Lesbos, Greece, February 2020, (Aris Messinis, AFP, "Greece Has a Deadly New Migration Policy - and All of Europe is to Blame," The Guardian, 27 August 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/27/greece-migration-europe-athens-refugees#img-1)

On 19 November 2020, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) published a report on its visit to Greece on 13-17 March 2020. The delegation visited several police and border guard establishments in the Evros and Samos regions as well as three immigration detention facilities: Filakio Reception and Identification Centre, Filakio Pre-removal centre in the Evros region, and Malakasa detention camp in Attica.

In its report, the CPT stated that while it acknowledges the difficult context and significant on-going challenges faced by Greek authorities in dealing with the high number of non-citizens arriving in the country, “systematic detention cannot be the immediate response to this challenge.” The CPT said that the influx of migrants is not new and yet each time numbers surge, improvised places are used to detain them. In consequence, the CPT said, “the time is ripe for Greece to reconsider the approach taken towards the detention of migrants and it would appreciate receiving the comments of the Greek Government on this matter.”

Moreover, the CPT found that detention conditions for migrants in the Evros region and on the island of Samos could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment. For instance, a visit of two cells at the Port of Samos revealed that 93 migrants (58 men, 15 women - three of whom were pregnant - and 20 children, 10 of whom were under five year old) were crammed into the two cells. One of the cells measured 42 square metres and held 43 people (affording each one less than 1 square meter of living space per person). In addition, there was no artificial lighting, no heating, no beds, and no mattresses. The migrants met by the delegation had not had access to a shower for more than two weeks and no soap was given to them to wash their hands.

The CPT also found that appropriate health care—essential during the pandemic—is not available in all facilities in which migrants are detained. Further, the committee noted that families with children and unaccompanied or separated children were being held in inappropriate conditions and reiterated its recommendation that the “Greek authorities fundamentally revise their policy regarding the detention of unaccompanied children both for reception and identification purposes and under ‘protective custody’ in places of deprivation of liberty. … Instead, they should be transferred without delay to a (semi-) open establishment specialised for juveniles”.

In its concluding remarks, the CPT observed other deficiencies in most places of detention such as a general “lack of maintenance of the building (especially the sanitary facilities), poor lighting and ventilation, insufficient personal hygiene products and cleaning materials, inability to obtain a change of clothes, lack of information provided to detained persons, no access to daily outdoor exercise, inadequate food.”


23 October 2020

Vial Migrant Camp on the Greek Island of Chios, (L. Partsalis, Picture Alliance,
Vial Migrant Camp on the Greek Island of Chios, (L. Partsalis, Picture Alliance, "Chios Camp in Quarantine After at Least 30 Test Positive for COVID-19," Infomigrants, 15 October 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27938/chios-camp-in-quarantine-after-at-least-30-test-positive-for-covid-19)

Amidst a surge in cases across the country, several migrants and asylum seekers held in Chios’ Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) are reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. (The exact number remains unclear: while Greek media referred to two positive cases confirmed in Chios hospital, InfoMigrants cited reports of “at least 30” confirmed cases.) Access to medical treatment and testing has been described as “inadequate,” due to a lack of funding from the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum.

On Wednesday 14 October, the Greek Migration Ministry announced that the camp would be placed under quarantine until at least 21 October, and that “extensive health checks” would be carried out. On 22 October, this quarantine was extended to 4 November. In its statement, the ministry also announced plans to transfer all pregnant women (five months pregnant and beyond) from the facility to mainland Greece (near to hospitals that are treating COVID-19 patients), “so that no deliveries take place at the General Hospital of Chios “Skylitsio.”” The camp was previously placed under quarantine restrictions in August, after four non-nationals and one employee tested positive.

On Lesvos island, frustrations have been growing regarding government plans to close Pikpa Camp, an “open, community-run space” where significant numbers of vulnerable asylum seekers are living. The camp was due to be closed by 15 October, but this was given a last-minute postponement. The European Court of Human Rights has called on the Greek government to respond to questions regarding plans to close the camp, and the situation of an asylum seeker and her new-born child (represented by the Greek Council for Refugees) who applied for interim measures before the court.


22 September 2020

BBC, “Lesvos: Hundreds Test Positive for Covid-19 After Migrant Camp Fire,” 22 September 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54239446
BBC, “Lesvos: Hundreds Test Positive for Covid-19 After Migrant Camp Fire,” 22 September 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54239446

More than 240 refugees and migrants have tested positive for Covid-19 in the newly erected Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos. The new camp, which was constructed after a fire levelled Moria camp, is built on a former military firing range near the main town of Mytilene.

In the wake of the Moria fire, more than 12,000 refugees and migrants were left homeless—but many reportedly refused to settle in the new camp for fear that they would be prevented from leaving (see 15 September update on this platform). However, following a “police operation” designed to persuade refugees and migrants to relocate to the new facility, on 18 September the Greek migration minister announced that the camp was holding 5,000 persons.


15 September 2020

BBC News, “Moria Migrants: Fire Destroys Greek Camp Leaving 13,000 Without Shelter,” 9 September 2020, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54082201
BBC News, “Moria Migrants: Fire Destroys Greek Camp Leaving 13,000 Without Shelter,” 9 September 2020, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54082201

On 9 September 2020, a few days after several people in Lesvos' Moria Camp tested positive for Covid-19, fires broke out that destroyed the camp, leaving some 13,000 people without shelter and resulting in a major humanitarian crisis. It is unclear how the fires began but according to Greece’s migration minister, the fires “began with the asylum seekers.” Some migrants told the BBC that the fire had broken out after scuffles between migrants and Greek forces at the camp. Marco Sandrone, a project coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières, stated that while it was difficult to establish the cause of the fires, “it’s a time bomb that finally exploded,” adding that people had been kept in inhumane conditions for years.

After the fire, police reportedly blocked roads to prevent migrants from entering nearby towns. Some locals also reportedly attacked and prevented migrants from passing through a nearby village after they fled the flames. One migrant from Afghanistan told Reuters: “We don’t know where to go, and all the refugees are outside, trying to find a place to at least just stay.” The mayor of Mytilene, Stratis Kytelis, said it was a “very difficult situation because some of those who are outside will include people who are positive for coronavirus.”

Migrants have been left to sleep on the streets or in cemeteries. According to Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), 800 people have settled in a newly erected emergency camp, where 21 people have tested positive. Most migrants are refusing to settle in the new camp as they fear that once they enter it, they will be prevented from leaving.

On 12 September, Greek riot police fired teargas at refugees protesting against conditions in Lesvos. Witnesses reported teargas being fired after younger migrants began throwing rocks at police units. The Guardian reported that the insistence of Greek officials that transferral is out of the question and a growing realisation that any prospect of leaving is diminishing rapidly have helped create an increasingly toxic atmosphere. One aid worker on the island told the Guardian: “The thought that they may be here for even longer now, the sight of the replacement camp and being stranded without proper shelter for days, has, for many, become the tipping point.”

Certain European countries and the European Union have offered their aid to Greece. For instance, Switzerland has volunteered to take in some unaccompanied minors that were left stranded. In total, 10 countries, including Switzerland, will be taking in 400 unaccompanied minors from the camp. The response of most countries has focussed on resettling unaccompanied minors, although Germany vowed to also take care of families. The Prime Minister of the North-Rhine Westphalia, Armin Laschet, offered to take in “1,000 refugees.”

RTS has qualified the measures adopted by countries regarding the transferral of unaccompanied minors rather than families as “selective solidarity” in that due to children’s vulnerability, governments do not need to justify themselves when providing care for children. However, taking in adults, raises many more doubts in public opinion, especially in times of economic uncertainty.


03 September 2020

Sanitary Facilities at the Moria Camp, (T. Georgiopoulou, “Concern After First Covid Case at Moria Migrant Camp,” Ekathimerini, 3 September 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/256512/article/ekathimerini/news/concern-after-first-covid-case-at-moriamigrant-camp)
Sanitary Facilities at the Moria Camp, (T. Georgiopoulou, “Concern After First Covid Case at Moria Migrant Camp,” Ekathimerini, 3 September 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/256512/article/ekathimerini/news/concern-after-first-covid-case-at-moriamigrant-camp)

Greek authorities reported the first confirmed Covid-19 case in Lesvos’ overcrowded Moria Camp. In response, the country’s ministries for asylum, health, and civil protection announced in a joint statement that the camp would be closed for 14 days, and that authorities were actively tracing and testing all persons who had come into contact with the individual. Until 15 September, only security personnel would be permitted to enter the camp, and the police presence surrounding the facility would be stepped up to ensure that lockdown is not breached. Although the camp has capacity for less than 3,000 persons, it currently accommodates some 13,000 migrants and asylum seekers.

According to the Migration Ministry, the individual--a 40-year-old refugee from Somalia--had left the camp on 17 July 2020 after his application for asylum was approved. However, he had reportedly returned at the end of August having failed to settle in Athens and had been living in a tent outside the facility. This, the migration authority stressed, underscored the need for authorities to move forward with proposed plans to enforce stricter controls on the camp.

Although the camp has been placed under quarantine for two weeks, residents in the camp have essentially been in lockdown since the start of the pandemic (see 4 July and 18 June updates on this platform). Residents have only been permitted to leave at certain times of day to see a doctor or to buy food, and only 150 persons have been permitted to exit the camp per hour.


23 July 2020

Refugees and Migrants Wearing Masks Wait to Get on a Bus After Their Arrival at the Port of Piraeus on 4 May 2020, (Petros Giannakouris, AP Photo,
Refugees and Migrants Wearing Masks Wait to Get on a Bus After Their Arrival at the Port of Piraeus on 4 May 2020, (Petros Giannakouris, AP Photo, "Two Migrants Test Positive for Covid-19 in Overcrowded Greek Camp," EuroNews, 14 May 2020, https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/13/two-migrants-test-positive-for-covid-19-in-overcrowded-greek-camp)

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, an official from an international organisation said that in Greece no moratorium on new immigration detention orders had been established but that new arrests and detention orders were reduced beginning from late March to mid-May. Since the end of May, the issuing of detention orders has gradually increased, reaching pre-lockdown numbers.

The official also reported that limited numbers of persons were gradually released from pre-removal detention centres (PRDCs) and police stations on the basis of age and vulnerability as well as their overall health condition (see 18 June Greece update on this platform). Yet, the legal basis of the release decisions did not make direct reference to Covid-19, nor were “alternatives to detention” programmes (ATD) employed. No specific measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the infection or to ensure appropriate care for persons released from detention.

According to the source, information on preventive measures against Covid-19 was gradually provided to detainees in PRDCs, with a significant number of released persons having received such information while in detention. But there has not been generalised Covid-19 testing for immigration detainees, despite police authorities in some locations having expressed their intention to do so.

As of 19 March, police authorities gradually restricted access to PRDCs. Transfer to these centres from police stations or other PRDCs have also been gradually reduced. According to the police, emergency cases, including those with Covid-19 symptoms, were exceptionally transferred to the hospital upon communication with the Hellenic National Public Health Organisation (EODY). Although Greece lifted some lockdown measures in May, other measures were still imposed in reception and identification centres as of June (see 18 June Greece update on this platform). While specific areas were made available for infected detainees, the capacity of medical staff in PRDCs remained very limited. Gradually, information on Covid-19 (including EODY material) was provided to detainees through Medical Units S.A., the actor providing medical services in PRDCs where available. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated to the police authorities (primarily to PRDCs and certain police facilities), cleaning and hygiene material.

The official stated that returns had been suspended to all countries from mid-March to May 2020. Returns on the basis of the EU-Turkey agreement have still not resumed as of July 2020, but returns of Turkish nationals under the EU-Turkey readmission agreement have gradually resumed since mid-May.

Apart from the suspension of returns from mid-March to May, the Asylum Service and Appeals’ Authority was suspended, and thus all administrative procedures were postponed, including asylum interviews (see 18 June Greece update on this platform). The authorities’ functions resumed in May. In addition, new arrivals were placed in 14 day quarantine, while the restriction of movement of third country nationals residing in all types of reception facilities throughout the country, was extended (for the seventh time) until 2 August 2020, from 21 March, on the basis of the protection of public health, despite the fact that the last restrictions of movement for the general population were lifted on 25 May.

As previously reported on this platform (18 June Greece update), facilities on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros have been criticised for their overcrowding, poor material living conditions, and insufficient service provision. Despite 3,000 people being transferred out of the camps in mid-April, the facilities remain severely overcrowded, with 31,203 persons registered as living in the camps, as of 9 June, sharing only some 6,095 places.


04 July 2020

Global Detention Project,
Global Detention Project, "Immigration Detention in Greece - 2019 Update," September 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/greece

Despite repeated criticisms of its continued lockdown of refugee and migrant camps (see 18 June update), Greece recently announced its fifth extension of these lockdown measures. As of 4 July, camps are to be quarantined until 19 July, with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers continuing to face movement restrictions. According to the country’s migration ministry, those held in these facilities are only permitted to leave between 7am and 9pm in groups of less than 10 persons, and no more than 150 persons are allowed to exit each hour.

Activists and NGOs have reiterated their criticism that these lock-down measures have nothing to do with public health concerns given that no confirmed cases of the virus have yet been detected within these settings. Moreover, instead of protecting those inside these facilities, the continued lockdown appears to be placing them at greater risk of harm. As Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees reported, in Moria camp reports of sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape have risen during the lockdown period. According to the Centre for Research on Women’s Issues (CRWI) Diotima, a women’s NGO, the inhumane living conditions and current legislation have “created suffocating conditions for these people, and particularly for persons who are in need of special protection, who find themselves further exposed. When you don’t have money and you don’t have a house, but you do have some kind of vulnerability, then you will become an almost certain victim of [further] exploitation and abuse.”


18 June 2020

Refugee Rights Europe, “The Invisible Islands: Covid-19 Restrictions and the Future of Detention on Kos and Leros,” June 2020, https://refugee-rights.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/RRE_TheInvisibleIslands.pdf
Refugee Rights Europe, “The Invisible Islands: Covid-19 Restrictions and the Future of Detention on Kos and Leros,” June 2020, https://refugee-rights.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/RRE_TheInvisibleIslands.pdf

Although Greece lifted its lockdown measures in May, authorities have continued to impose movement restrictions upon migrants and refugees held in Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) on the Aegean islands as well as facilities on the country’s mainland. Initially extended until 10 May, lockdown measures for such facilities were later extended until 7 June—and now until 21 June. The continuation of lockdown measures in these facilities has been strongly condemned by NGOs and rights observers. Human Rights Watch stated on 12 June, “There have been no Covid-19 cases reported in the islands’ camps. And those on the mainland haven’t recorded any cases since April. Yet despite insufficient evidence to justify stronger restrictions in the camps than elsewhere in the country, these discriminatory lockdowns continue for all of them.” Some observers have warned that these lockdown measures may have an ulterior motive - to convert the reception sites into closed detention facilities, in line with the controversial International Protection Bill (Law 4636/2019), which entered into force on 1 January 2020.

Facilities on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros have long been criticised for their overcrowding, poor material living conditions, and insufficient service provision. While rights groups and NGOs called for their decongestion at the start of the crisis, Greece instead opted to seal off the facilities (see 23 April update). Since mid-April, 3,000 people have reportedly been transferred out of the camps, but facilities remain severely overcrowded: As of 9 June, 31,203 people were registered as living in the camps, a number that far surpasses the 6,095 capacity of the facilities. According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, promised measures in RICs—including the establishment of special health units including medical clinics and isolation spaces—have not yet been implemented.

Since March, Greece has also been arbitrarily detaining newly arrived asylum seekers—including children, persons with disabilities, older persons, and pregnant women—in two mainland detention facilities (in Malakassa and Serres). Although authorities have presented their detention as a necessary health measure to avoid the spread of the virus, the facilities are reported to lack even basic health and sanitation provisions.

Several media outlets reported pushbacks at the country’s land and sea borders. According to a report by Der Spiegal, Report Mainz, and Lighthouse Reports, masked Greek coast guard officers were intercepting refugee boats and returning them to Turkey. The report provides video footage that appears to corroborate this claim. On 12 June, UNHCR urged Greece to immediately investigate the reports and stated, “Greece has the legitimate right to control its borders and manage irregular migration while respecting international human rights and refugee protection standards. Controls and practices must guarantee the rights of asylum seekers and they should not be turned away at Greece’s borders.”

Having suspended asylum procedures in March until 1 April after Turkey opened its western border to allow non-nationals to cross into the EU, Greece’s asylum system was again suspended through to 18 May. On 5 June however, HRW reported that asylum procedures had finally restarted.


23 April 2020

Refugees Wearing Face Masks as Protection from the Coronavirus gather at the Entrance of the Hotel in Kranidi, (Thanassis Stavrakis, The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera,
Refugees Wearing Face Masks as Protection from the Coronavirus gather at the Entrance of the Hotel in Kranidi, (Thanassis Stavrakis, The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera, "Greece: 148 Refugees Test Positive for Covid-19, all Asymptomatic," https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/greece-148-refugees-test-positive-covid-19-asymptomatic-200421134039733.html)

Nearly 42,000 refugees remain in overcrowded detention camps as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads, with refugees lacking access to essential items and services, such as soap and water as well as basic health care. Despite calls from civil society and the European Commission to release detainees into adequate alternatives and after several detainees tested positive, the government instead ordered an immediate lockdown of the camps. Human Rights Watch said that the conditions on the islands make it impossible to adhere to the appropriate public health guidelines designed to curb the outbreak: “Restricting thousands of women, men and children in severely overcrowded camps, where living conditions are unacceptable, makes it impossible to isolate people exposed to Covid-19 or to comply with minimum preventive and protective measures, even hand washing and social-distancing.”

On 21 April 2020, 148 asylum seekers at a hotel managed by the IOM tested positive for Covid-19. The hotel in Kranidi is hosting some 450 asylum seekers and has been quarantined since last week after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. The Greek Minister for Migration announced on 20 April 2020 that around 1,500 of the most vulnerable people living in the Moria camp would be evacuated on a specially chartered ship to mainland Greece by the end of this week.

On 9 April 2020, a riot broke out in the Eleonas women’s prison due to the death of an inmate. Prisoners are worried that the death was due to Covid-19 and are requesting that immediate measures to prevent the spread of the disease be implemented.


16 April 2020

Relocated Unaccompanied Minors in Luxembourg Airport Holding IOM Bags, (Getty Images, BBC News,
Relocated Unaccompanied Minors in Luxembourg Airport Holding IOM Bags, (Getty Images, BBC News, "Greece Relocates Unaccompanied Migrant Children to Luxembourg",15 April 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52303623)

On 15 April Greece began relocating to Luxembourg unaccompanied children from camps on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, and Chios, which are severely overcrowded. There are reportedly some 5,000 unaccompanied children in Greek camps, and the country has plans “to relocate about 1,600 vulnerable children to other European countries that volunteer to host them, amid the coronavirus outbreak,” according to the BBC. The move comes after severe criticism from human rights groups calling for the immediate release of children from police cells and detention centres. “Keeping children locked up in filthy police cells was always wrong, but now it also exposes them to the risk of Covid-19 infection,” said Human Rights Watch.

Previously, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs reported in early April that 1,000 refugees and migrants deemed vulnerable to the virus had been moved from Greek islands to hotels. In addition, although asylum services were temporarily suspended from 13 March 2020, including registration of asylum requests, asylum interviews and appeals in asylum cases, the asylum service stated that applicants’ cards and residence permits due to expire during the suspension would remain valid.

Meanwhile, according to reports in the Greek press, Turkey has allegedly been pushing Covid-infected migrants across the border into Greece. According to Ekathimerini.com (11 April), “Sources that cannot be named but are considered reliable believe that Turkey has a plan to push migrants infected with the coronavirus to cross into Greece and other parts of Europe in the midst of the virus pandemic. According to the sources, these migrants, many of whom were also at the Pazarkule, or Kastanies, border crossing, have been transported from migrant camps in the hinterland.”


05 April 2020

Migrants and asylum seekers, arriving from Lesvos, are examined by medical personnel on 15 March 2020 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/eu-urged-to-evacuate-asylum-seekers-from-cramped-greek-island-camps-coronavirus)
Migrants and asylum seekers, arriving from Lesvos, are examined by medical personnel on 15 March 2020 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/eu-urged-to-evacuate-asylum-seekers-from-cramped-greek-island-camps-coronavirus)

In mid-March, Greece announced that its plans to transform the hotspots on Leros and Kos into closed reception centres would be accelerated and that all visits to hotspots would be suspended in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, national and international organisations subsequently issued urgent calls to reduce overcrowding in hotspots, including Médecins Sans Frontières and the European Parliament, which called for the evacuation of all the migrant camps on the islands.

By the end of March, the government began transferring thousands of new arrivals, including children and people with disabilities, to detention centres on the Greek mainland. Human Rights Watch denounced the move: “If the government is serious about preventing COVID-19 transmission and illness among migrants and asylum seekers, it needs to scale up testing, provide more tents, and give people enough toilets, water, and soap, and put in place prevention interventions. … Forcing people, some of whom are at high risk of severe disease or death, to live in dirty and unsanitary conditions, cramped together in close quarters, is a recipe for spreading the virus, not to mention is degrading and inhumane.”

On 25 March ECRE published an open letter, signed by 121 organisations, requesting that “alternatives to detention” for all administrative detainees throughout Greece be implemented; measures to protect public health are taken to protect those residing in camps, camp employees, and society at large; and measures are taken to ensure that people are still able to apply for asylum before the Greek Asylum Service.

By early April, various migrant sites were being placed under quarantine as a result of outbreaks, including the Malakasa and Ritsona facilities. In Malakasa, a 53 year old man tested positive on 5 April 2020 and was transferred to hospital in Athens. In the Ritsona camp, 20 people tested positive for Covid-19 during the week of 30 March 2020.

Within penal institutions, the government announced plans to release up to 1,500 inmates to lessen the chances of transmission of the coronavirus. Prisoners sentenced for minor offences who have up to a year of their terms left would be released.


Last updated: September 2019

Greece Immigration Detention

 

  • Key Findings
  • Introduction
  • Laws, Policies, Practices
  • Detention Infrastructure

 

KEY FINDINGS

  • Greece is again facing an escalation in the numbers of people arriving to its shores, yet its capacity to respond to these pressures appears dramatically inadequate, with aid workers pointing to “levels of human suffering” at camps on the Greek islands—where thousands have been stranded for years—as “indescribable.”[1]
  • Domestic and international observers have denounced for many years, starting long before the refugee “crisis” erupted in 2015, the treatment of immigration detainees and the miserable conditions in detention facilities as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.
  • Unaccompanied children are frequently detained for lengthy periods in woefully inadequate conditions because of a persistent lack of space in reception centres and shelters.
  • On some Greek islands, authorities continue to automatically detain people for their entire asylum procedures when they come from countries that have a low international protection recognition rate.
  • Police and border guard stations are frequently used for prolonged immigration detention even though they lack appropriate facilities to do so.
  • Authorities rarely employ non-custodial “alternatives to detention.”

 

1.     INTRODUCTION

Greece is an important gateway into the European Union for migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. This has spurred the EU to devise numerous strategies over the years for blocking flows into and out of Greece—particularly in the wake of the refugee “crisis” in 2015—in addition to placing considerable pressure on the country to ramp up controversial detention practices. While some of these efforts have diverted migration flows to other parts of the Mediterranean, these results are often only temporary. In mid-2019, arrivals to the Greek islands again began to surge, spurring the government to propose a slate of controversial measures, including limiting asylum appeals to help speed up returns to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey deal (discussed below).

Among the more notable aspects of Greece’s control efforts are the “hotspot” reception facilities located on the Aegean islands, which include the participation of EU agencies like Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), as well as NGOs and international organisations. Aid workers have described the conditions in these “camps” as calamitous. A mid-2019 account Médecins Sans Frontières aid workers working in these centres reported: “At least 24,000 men, women and children trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps are being subjected to conditions so harrowing they bear all the hallmarks of humanitarian catastrophe.”[2]

When the numbers of arrivals in the EU rose dramatically in 2015—spurred by the civil war in Syria as well as instability in other countries—Greece received the largest proportion of asylum seekers in the EU. Of the approximately one million people to arrive in the EU in 2015, more than 850,000 entered via Greece. To stem arrivals, 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 the Greek islands after 20 March 2016 could be returned to Turkey. For every migrant or asylum seeker sent back to Turkey, the EU would resettle one Syrian from Turkey. Turkey was also promised six billion EUR to assist the refugee community in the country, the granting of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, and the resumption of Turkey's EU accession process. The EU justified the return of migrants and asylum seekers to Turkey on the basis of the “safe third country” principle. However, it was patently clear from the outset that Turkey would not fulfil the criteria to be considered a safe haven.[3] The EU-Turkey deal eventually diverted flows to Italy and in 2016 arrivals to Greece dropped to 170,000.[4]

To implement the EU-Turkey agreement, Greece converted reception centres on five Aegean Islands into closed (or “secure”) facilities and adopted a policy of “geographical restriction.” Pursuant to this measure, authorities ceased transferring migrants and asylum seekers to the Greek mainland, forcing them to remain on the island on which they have been registered and undergo a fast-track border procedure. Administrative delays, however, have left thousands migrants and asylum seekers stranded on the Aegean islands for months or even years.[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 long spurred concerns and criticisms, including: its resistance to using non-custodial “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. Greece’s detention system has attracted broad international condemnation—including from four UN Special Procedures[7] and four UN human rights treaty bodies.[8] The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has also visited detention facilities on several occasions and the country’s policies prompted more than 20 rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

 

2.     LAWS, POLICIES, PRACTICES

2.1 Key norms. Immigration detention in Greece is regulated by three pieces of legislation. Adopted in 2005 and amended several times, Law 3386/2005 on the Entry, Residence and Social Integration of Third-Country Nationals on Greek Territory originally provided Greece’s principle legal framework governing the entry and departure of non-citizens, including detention. However, with the adoption of Law 4251/2014—the Immigration and Social Integration code—all of the provisions of Law 3386/2005 were abolished, with the exception of Articles 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 89(1)-(3), which pertain to immigration detention and remain in force.[9]

In 2011, Law 3907/2011 on the Establishment of an Asylum Service and a First Reception Service transposed the EU Returns Directive, establishing 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 important provisions in the directive—including “alternatives to detention.”

When Greece implemented the EU-Turkey deal in 2016, the country adopted Law 4375/2016 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. This law transposed the EU Asylum Procedures Directive, overhauling the institutional framework of asylum and regulating the detention of asylum seekers. In May 2018, Law 4375/2016 was amended by Article 10 of Law 4540/2018.[10]

2.2 Grounds for detention. Greek law establishes three grounds justifying 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 (CJEU) held that pre-removal detention cannot be justified solely on account of public order considerations. Thus, Greek legislation is not compatible with EU law.

According to the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and AITIMA, authorities unjustifiably and excessively rely on public order grounds to justify pre-removal and asylum detention—indeed, this justification served as the basis for a June 2016 police circular ordering the transferral of non-citizens who commit “law-breaking conduct” on Greek islands to pre-removal detention centres on the mainland. (In 2016, approximately 1,600 persons were transferred to pre-removal detention centres on this basis.)[11] More recently, the GCR observed that individuals are sometimes issued detention orders on public order grounds based on a prior prosecution for a minor offence, even if no conviction has ensued, or following irregular entry (a practice that is at odds with Article 46(1) of Law 4375).[12]

The risk of absconding, justifying both pre-removal and asylum detention (see 2.4 Asylum seekers), is covered in Law 3907. Article 18g 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.

In the 2019 report “Crossing a Red Line,” the GCR stated that foreign nationals may also be de facto detained with no legal ground—in particular, they may be detained in a pre-removal facility pending transfer to a Reception and Identification Centre (RIC). This is particularly the case at the Greece-Turkey border, where persons have reportedly been detained pending transfer to the Fylakio RIC. Moreover, persons may also be de facto detained in RICs. Pursuant to Article 14 of Law 4375/2016, non-citizens can be placed in a regime of restricted freedom for three days (which can be extended up to a maximum of 25 days) within RIC premises. This measure amounts to detention since people cannot leave the premises. Although this is not imposed on RICs on Greek islands, it is systematically applied (for the maximum period of 25 days) for individuals held in Fylakio RIC. The GCR also reported that detention is systematically applied by Greek authorities carrying out pushbacks at the Greece-Turkey border. Non-citizens attempting to enter Greece are arrested and detained in police stations for a period that does not usually exceed one day, after which they are returned to Turkey. Foreign nationals can also be detained if they are found to be in breach of the geographical restriction, which provides that non-citizens must remain on the Aegean island in which they first arrived.[13]

2.3 Criminalisation. Under Article 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 issued a fine of 1,500 EUR or more.[14] Anyone included on the country’s list of “undesirable foreigners” who re-enters Greece without authorisation is also subject to a fine of 3,000-10,000 EUR and a prison sentence of at least one year (Article 82 of Law 3386/2005). However, the public prosecutor can decide to abstain from pursuing these cases and instead order their administrative expulsion (Article 83 of Law 3386/2005).

2.4 Asylum seekers. Law 4375 provides that non-citizens must not be detained purely because they submitted an application for international protection, entered the country illegally, 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, exceptionally and if necessary after an individual assessment and under the condition that no alternative measure can be applied: (a) when there is a need to determine the person’s identity or nationality; (b) 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; (c) 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; (d) when the person constitutes a danger to national security or public order; or (e) 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 GCR, however, observed that detention decisions often lack individual assessment and asylum seekers are frequently detained.[15]

Like other foreign nationals, asylum seekers may end up in detention for breaching a geographical restriction, pending their transfer to a RIC, within the RIC, or during pushback operations at the border (see 2.2 Grounds for detention). Moreover, asylum seekers whose applications are dealt with by the fast track border procedure are automatically detained if their request is rejected at the second instance.[16] In 2016, Greek authorities launched a pilot project that provided for the detention of asylum applicants who are nationals of a country with a low-recognition rate in terms of international protection for the entire length of their asylum procedure. While the pilot project officially ended in January 2018, some islands continue to implement these measures. The threshold to characterise a recognition rate as “low” for a given country varies depending on the centre. Non-citizens entering Greece without authorisation and submitting an asylum request at Athens International Airport can also end up being de facto detained at the Police Directorate of the Airport for a period of up to 28 days.[17]

2.5 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 are modelled upon the Returns Directive. Accordingly, unaccompanied children and families with children 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 3907/2011, Article 32). Law 4375/2016, regulating detention within asylum procedures, provides that as a rule, unaccompanied children should not be detained. Unaccompanied children who apply for international protection while in detention should remain in detention only in “very exceptional cases.” This detention measure is exclusively limited to the necessary time to safely refer the child to appropriate accommodation facilities and cannot exceed a period of twenty-five days, extendable for twenty days (Law 4375/2016, Article 46(10A(a)).

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.[18] The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants also noted that asylum-seeking children are frequently detained for more than 45 days.[19] Furthermore, unaccompanied children in Greece also end up in detention due to inaccurate age assessment procedures. As the GCR has observed, police authorities systematically rely on X-ray examinations, decisions do not refer to an exact medical diagnosis, and there is no possibility to challenge the outcome.[20] The CPT urged Greece to establish adequate age assessment procedures which also provide for appeal channels,[21] 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.[22] In 2016, the CPT recommended that Greece amend Law 4375 and abolish immigration detention of children altogether.[23]

More recently, the CPT again reiterated its concern regarding the detention of children in Greece. The committee noted that, since the last visit and recommendation, the country had not introduced relevant changes to law and practice regarding the immigration detention of children. Amongst various concerns raised by the committee were the facts that children are detained for lengthy periods (exceeding the 45-day-limit set in law); they are often held in police stations; and unreliable age assessment procedures are conducted. The CPT urged Greece to, inter alia, create new (semi-) open shelters for unaccompanied children, to act in line with the principle of the best interest of the child, and to establish appropriate and reliable age assessment procedures.[24]

According to Law 3907/2011, unaccompanied children are, wherever possible, to be accommodated in centres that have specialist personnel and facilities whilst families must be provided with separate accommodation guaranteeing adequate privacy. Detained children must have the opportunity to engage in leisure activities, including games and recreational activities appropriate for their age, and if they are detained for long periods of time they must have access to education (Law 3907/2011, Article 32). Similarly, pursuant to Law 4375/2016, unaccompanied children in asylum detention must be detained separately from adult detainees (Law 4375/2016, Article 46(10A(b)) and be given the option to participate in age-appropriate recreational and educational activities (Article 46(10A(c)). Article 46 (10A(d) also provides for families to be accommodated separately, with the consent of adult family members, to guarantee their privacy.

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 children in the Lesvos RIC as well as in 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 cells 24 hours a day 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.[25] 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, which was found to be inadequate for children. Minors 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 thus recommended that authorities stop using Petrou Ralli centre for detaining children.[26]

Moreover, following its 2018 visit, the CPT criticised the fact that despite featuring acceptable material conditions, the Fylakio RIC and Amygdaleza pre-removal centre did not offer recreational or educational activities to children. In Amygdaleza, the committee found that a number of minors were not even provided with shoes.[27]

In previous years, UN human rights treaty bodies also criticised Greece’s detention of children. In 2012, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged the country’s authorities to ensure that unaccompanied children are not detained or that they only remain on detention in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest period of time.[28] That same year, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) recommended that Greece promptly amend its legislation to prohibit the detention of unaccompanied children.[29] The CAT reiterated this recommendation in 2019.[30]

2.6 Other vulnerable groups. Greek legislation does not prohibit the detention of vulnerable persons. However, it lays down a number of special guarantees for such persons. According to Law 4375/2016 (Article 14(8), detention of asylum seekers) and Law 3907/2011 (Article 11(2), pre-removal detention), vulnerable people include unaccompanied children; persons with disabilities or suffering from incurable diseases; the elderly; pregnant and postpartum women; single parent families with children; victims of torture, rape, or other serious form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence or exploitation (persons with PTSD, in Law 4375 only); and victims of trafficking.

Law 3907 specifies that in detention, particular attention should be paid to individuals belonging to a vulnerable group (Article 31(3)). Elsewhere, according to Law 4375, the vulnerability of an individual must be taken into account for the imposition or prolongation of detention (Article 46(8)). Other than the special disposition for the detention of children and families discussed previously, this law also posits that pregnant women, and those who gave birth within the past three months, should not be detained.

According to reports however, in practice vulnerable persons are detained without any individual assessment of their vulnerability.[31]

2.7 Length of detention. According to Articles 30(5)-(6) of Law 3907, which mirror the Returns Directive, the initial period of detention may last for up to six months. This can be extended by up to 12 months, for a total of 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 the destination country. Before establishing 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 before or after their arrest. Yet in practice, as the GCR has noted, those 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.[32]

Moreover, AITIMA has 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.[33]

Following a visit in January 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) 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.”[34] Both the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the CAT thus urged Greece to ensure that immigration detention is ordered for the shortest time-period possible.[35]

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. Yet, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants noted that asylum-seeking children are frequently detained for more than 45 days.[36]

2.8 Procedural standards. Detention orders should be presented within three days of arrest, be issued in writing, and explain the reasons in law and fact (Law 3907/2011, Article 30(2)).

The non-citizen must receive the information outlining the reasons for their detention in a language they can understand (Law 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)). Following his 2013 visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants found that 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.[37] The CPT raised similar concerns following its 2018 visit.[38]

Domestic legislation establishes automatic review of the legality of pre-removal and asylum detention. Under Law 3907/2011 (Article 30(3)), pre-removal detention is to be reviewed every three months by the police director who issued the order or, in the case of a detention extension, by an administrative court. In turn, pursuant to Law 4375/2016 (Article 46(5)), the review of asylum detention is 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.[39]

The law also allows detainees to lodge objections against 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 orders are written in Greek and appeals must also be submitted in writing and in Greek, but access to an interpreter and lawyer is not guaranteed.[40]

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, authorities have not established a legal aid system for those challenging asylum detention.[41] In 2018, the CPT noted that in most pre-removal detention centres detainees were not provided with appropriate legal advice and it was almost impossible for detainees with financial difficulties to access lawyers. According to the committee, this jeopardised the possibility for detainees to challenge detention decisions.[42] In 2019, the CAT urged Greece to ensure that immigration detainees have access to counsel and judicial review to challenge the legality of detention and to establish an effective and independent oversight mechanism that provides detainees with the option to submit complaints.[43]

During a 2015 visit, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants also noted that mobile phones are confiscated and access to a telephone is not guaranteed for those who lack resources to pay for calls themselves—thus denying detainees the chance to obtain information or evidence to substantiate their claims.[44]

2.9 Non-custodial measures (“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 persons 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 Greek authorities often do not consider alternatives and an individual assessment of necessity and proportionality (in accordance with Law 3907) is not consistently applied. The Special Rapporteur thus urged Greece to “urgently” consider alternatives to detention and only order detention in exceptional circumstances.[45] UN human rights treaty bodies have expressed similar concerns regarding the failure to apply alternatives to detention. In 2015, the HRC recommended 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.[46] In 2012, the CAT had 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.[47] The committee reiterated this recommendation in 2019.[48]

2.10 Detaining authorities and institutions. Detention orders are issued by the relevant Police Director or, in the case of Attica and Thessaloniki, by the Aliens Division Police Director (Law 3386, Article 83(3); Law 4375, Article 46(3)). The Hellenic Police, which falls under the authority of the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, is responsible for implementing immigration detention.[49]

2.11 Regulation of detention conditions and regimes. Mirroring the language of the Returns Directive, Article 31(1) of Law 3907/2011 provides that detention should, as a rule, take place in a specialised detention facility (also in Law 4375/2016, Article 46(9)) and non-citizens in detention must be kept separated from ordinary prisoners (Article 31(1), Law 3907/2011, Article 46(10)(a) Law 4375/2016). 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 responsible for guarding such premises.

Article 31 of Law 3907/2011 spells out several further guarantees. Specifically, immigration detainees should be permitted 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 (NGOs) should be able to visit detention centres, although these visits may be subject to authorisation from the authorities. Detainees must be informed about the rules governing the facility, their rights, and their obligations. Law 4375/2016, regulating asylum detention provides that detained applicants are to be kept separated, to the extent possible, from other non-citizens who have not submitted an asylum request; they are to have access to open spaces; they can be visited by representatives of UNHCR; they can receive visits from family members, legal representatives, and other authorised institutions; they are informed about the regulations governing the facility, their rights, and their obligations; they are granted appropriate health care and they have a right to legal representation (Article 46(10)(a-g)). Furthermore, men and women should be detained in separate areas and families should be afforded adequate privacy (Article 46(10A)(d-e)).

2.12 Domestic monitoring. The Greek Ombudsman, Greece’s designated National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), is responsible, inter alia, for monitoring immigration detention and return operations. In 2017 the Ombudsman visited seven pre-removal facilities and police stations and highlighted overcrowding, lack of interpreters, and inadequate health care.[50] In 2018, the Ombudsman issued a special report on the rights of children on the move in which he called for the “absolute abolition of detention.”[51]

Pursuant to Article 31(4) of Law 3907, competent and relevant national and international institutions, including NGOs, can visit detention facilities, subject to police authorisation. According to official sources, international organisations and NGOs were granted permission to access detention facilities approximately 300 times in 2017 and 220 times between January and September 2018.[52] The GCR regularly visits places of detention.[53] In practice however, civil society’s capacity to access detention sites is limited due to constraints to human and financial resources. In addition, detainees are frequently unable to call NGOs because they do not have the means to purchase telephone cards.[54]             

Following his 2016 visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants urged the Greek authorities to ensure full access to all detention facilities for lawyers and civil society organisations, and for the establishment of a system of regular, independent monitoring of detention centres.[55]

2.13 International monitoring. As a state party to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Greece receives regular monitoring visits from the CPT. During its 2018 ad hoc visit, the committee addressed the state of immigration detention and urged authorities to ensure that detainees are not ill-treated; detainees are informed about their legal situation and applicable procedures; interpretation services are made available; custody registers are properly maintained; alternatives to detention are considered for persons willing to return in a “voluntary” way; women and children are never detained alongside unrelated men; and conditions are improved in several facilities.[56]

Greece’s detention system has repeatedly received criticism from international human rights monitoring bodies, including from four UN Special Procedures (Special Rapporteur on torture, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, WGAD, and Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants)[57] and four UN human rights treaty bodies (HRC, CAT, CRC, and Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)). Greece’s detention practices have also been the subject of more than 20 rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.[58]

2.14 Trends and statistics. There is a clear upward trend in Greece’s immigration detention activities. According to official statistics, 14,864 non-citizens were detained in pre-removal detention centres in 2016, of whom 4,072 were asylum seekers.[59] In 2017, 25,810 non-citizens were detained in pre-removal detention centres, of whom 9,534 were asylum seekers. In 2018 the number of immigration detainees rose to 31,126, of whom 18,204 were asylum seekers.[60]

The number of asylum applications submitted from detention has also increased, from 2,829 in 2016, to 5,424 in 2017, and 7,200 in 2018.[61] However, these figures are not comprehensive as they do not include individuals held in facilities other than pre-removal centres, such as police stations or RICs. The Greek Ombudsman reported that more comprehensive statistics, inclusive of the number of non-citizens detained in police stations, are not provided by the Hellenic Police.[62]

In 2018, approximately 93,400 people without proper documents were apprehended; 68,100 in 2017; 204,800 in 2016; and 911,500 in 2015. In 2018, the country returned (after a return order) approximately 12,500 people; 18,800 in 2017; and 19,100 in 2016.[63]

2.15 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. In September 2013, the Greek Ministry of Public Order announced plans to issue tenders, directed at private security companies, to manage some of the country’s detention centres.[64] Eventually, the public tenders were arranged for the provision of security to three detention centres (Fylakio, Corinth, and Drama) for 14 million EUR a year.[65] However, as of September 2019, private companies were reportedly not involved in the guarding of such centres.[66]

2.16 Cost of detention. Between 2008 and 2013, Greece’s migration control policies cost at least 500,000,000 EUR. Costs specifically related to immigration detention were estimated to be 28,713,600 EUR per year in 2013, when the country had an immigration detention capacity of 4,985—although this did not take police stations, border guards, and other special holding facilities into account. The study estimated that immigration detention costs would have risen to 43,200,000 EUR had the country reached an immigration detention capacity of 7,500,[67] (at the end of 2018, pre-removal facilities in Greece had a total capacity of 6,417).[68]

2.17 Externalisation, readmission, and third-country agreements. In March 2016, 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 six billion EUR, the lifting of EU 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.[69] The EU-Turkey deal ultimately diverted the migration flow to Italy and in 2016 arrivals to Greece decreased to 170,000.[70] Sea arrivals further decreased to 32,000 in 2018. However, land arrivals increased from 3,784 in 2016 to 18,014 in 2018.[71]

 

3.     DETENTION INFRASTRUCTURE

3.1 Summary. Greece’s immigration detention estate regularly fluctuates, as deficient facilities are closed, new centres established, and older sites refurbished and reopened.[72] 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 (GDP) classifies a number of reception and identification centres (RIC)—most of which operate as “hotspots” on the Aegean Islands—as secure centres.

As of December 2018, Greece operated eight pre-removal detention centres with a total capacity of 6,417. 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).[73]

Most dedicated centres are labelled “pre-removal detention centres,” which have been set up by ministerial decisions in a wave of reforms put in place by the 2012 Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management. Following a 2015 visit to Greece, the CPT reported 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.[74]

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.[75] 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.[76] In addition, in the summer of 2017 the country set up an additional pre-removal facility on the island of Samos (Aegean). However, as of September 2019, the centre was not yet operational.[77] Plans for a centre on Chios were interrupted following resistance from local residents.[78]

Besides pre-removal detention centres, Greece also detains non-citizens in other dedicated detention facilities, called “special holding facilities.” These are located in the premises of the Aliens Police Directorate in Thessaloniki and Athens airport.[79]

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.[80]

Unlike most other EU states, Greece has systematically used police and border guard stations for prolonged immigration detention—a practice that has attracted significant critique.[81] Although the Hellenic Police Headquarters state that, as of the end of 2014, police stations had ceased to be used for immigration detention, according to the 2016, 2017, and 2018 reports of the Greek Ombudsman, the GCR, and the CPT, police stations continue to be used to confine migrants.[82] In fact, it appears that a considerable proportion of immigration detainees are confined within police stations. 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.[83]

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 2018 included, Agios Panteleimonas, Patisia, Achrnes, Elefsina, Pagrati, Ilioupoli, Cholargos, Neo Irakleio, Nikaia, Kipseli, Syntagma, Chaidari, Kallithea, Piraeus, Renti, Drapetsona, Kolonos (Athens), Omonia (Athens), Thermi, Agiou Athanasios, Raidestos, Feres (Evros), Isaakio (Evros), Neo Cheimonio, Soufli (Evros), Kato Achaia, Rhodes, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, and Tychero.[84] Police stations employed for immigration detention in 2016 included those located in Kolonos, Agios Panteleimonas, Omonia, Kipseli, Drapetsona, Liti, and Kordelio.[85] As of 2012-2013, the police and border guard stations used for confining migrants included those located in Thermi,[86] Igoumenitsa,[87] Iasmos, Xanthi,[88] 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).[89] These facilities may still be systematically used for immigration detention purposes.

3.2 List of detention facilities (non-comprehensive). Pre-removal centres in Amygdaleza (Attica), Corinth (Peloponnese), Drama Paranesti (Thrace), Fylakio Orestiada (Thrace), Kos (Aegean), Moria (Lesvos) (Aegean), Tavros (Petrou Ralli) (Attica), and Xanthi (Thrace); Thessaloniki Aliens Police Directorate; Athens Airport; and several police stations.

3.3 Conditions and regimes in detention centres.

3.3a Overview. Following its 2018 period visit, the CPT reported that the three essential safeguards against ill treatment (right to notification of custody, access to a lawyer, and access to a doctor) were not guaranteed in practice. The committee expressed its concern over the lack of information provided to detainees, the barriers preventing detainees from accessing a lawyer or seeing a doctor, and the lack of interpretation services, and urged the country to redress this situation.[90]

According to more recent CPT reporting, material conditions and rights granted to detainees can vary depending on the centre. For instance, regarding pre-removal facilities, an open detention regime is only applied in Amygdaleza and Kos. Access to mobile phones and internet is denied in police stations, restricted in the pre-removal detention facilities of Lesvos, Kos, and Fylakio, and permitted in Amygdaleza and RIC Fylakio.[91]

3.3b Amygdaleza. As of December 2018, the pre-removal detention centre had a capacity of 2,000.[92] According to the CPT however, in April 2018 the capacity was reduced to 724, as part of the centre was inoperable due to its deteriorated state.[93] The centre was established on the premises of the police academy in Athens, and 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 nine-square-metre rooms accommodate four people and are equipped with a table, chairs, and a cupboard, as well as a sanitary annex.[94] The centre employs an open-door regime: detainees are in fact free to move within the facility during the day.[95]

The CPT visited the facility in April 2018 and described the conditions as clean and acceptable. Moreover, Amygdaleza stood out for several other positive characteristics. In particular, the centre was one of the only pre-removal facilities in which interpreters were available for health care staff, and legal advice services were found to be accessible and adequate. Detainees could use their own phones and connect to the internet for several hours each day. The centre was also found to be equipped with a space designated to detainees receiving visits, and two doctors and one nurse were present five days a week.

Some issues were nonetheless identified, such as overcrowding in several cells, and some material damage (such as to the facility’s plumbing and electricity). Moreover, some detainees complained about their bedding not being clean, the presence of rats and insects, and the lack of shoes and clothing provided upon arrival. The CPT delegation also expressed its concern regarding the presence of an “IOM section” at the centre. This unit was supposed to hold detainees who agreed to an assisted voluntary return, although according to the information collected by the CPT, some of the non-citizens held there did not have any contact with IOM staff.[96]

Having visited the centre in 2016, 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 to be distributed was also insufficient. 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 medical appointments.[97] Detainees were permitted to move freely within the fenced-in area during the day, and 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 those who could afford to purchase phone cards were able to use telephones in the centre.

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 a day, but the outside space was comprised solely of narrow gravel paths between the rows of units or an open area at the entrance to the compound. There were no common rooms with TV nor places for worship.[98]

3.3c Corinth. A former military camp, the Corinth pre-removal centre (capacity of 1,536)[99] is composed of eight two-storey buildings. The buildings have two wings, on each of which there are four 33-35 square metre dormitories. The dormitories have a capacity of 12 and have a sanitary annexe with a toilet and a basin.[100]

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).[101] 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 each 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 a television and games, as well as a multi-faith room.[102] Since December 2014, the centre has lacked the regular presence of a doctor and the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) ceased 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.[103]

3.3d Drama Paranesti. The centre (capacity of 977),[104] 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 are six dormitories, accommodating up to 30 people.[105]

In 2016, 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. Simultaneously however, there was no doctor in the facility and, consequently, no medical screening took place upon admission.[106] During its 2013 visit, the CPT noted that dormitories only featured bunk beds, lacked lockers for personal belongings, and no tables or chairs were provided. Lighting and ventilation were adequate but the buildings were in need of 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.[107]

3.3e Xanthi. Located within the former regional police academy, as of 2013 the centre (capacity of 480)[108] consisted of two two-storey accommodation buildings, each within a secure fenced perimeter, and an administration building.[109]

Upon visiting the centre in 2016, 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 (such as board games and billiard). There was also a worship area in the centre and newly arrived individuals received personal hygiene items. At the same time, however, various deficiencies were also identified, such as poor-quality food, the lack of a doctor, and the failure to ensure proper medical screening upon admission. [110]

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 just one hour a day and detainees were usually confined to the gravel area.[111] In March 2018, most of the toilets (i.e. 10 out of 12) were found to be out of use.[112]

3.3f Fylakio (Orestiada). Serving as a pre-removal detention centre since 2013, the facility (capacity of 374)[113] is divided into eight detention cells. When the CPT visited the facility in April 2018, cells 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 were used to detain families and single men. Cell 4 accommodated single men while cell 7 was reserved for single women and cell 8 for medical isolation. Each cell is of a considerable size and contains several sets of bunk beds; for instance, cell 1 is equipped with 36 sets of bunk beds while cell 7 features 13 sets.[114]

The centre has received a large number of monitoring visits, including from the CPT, Human Rights Watch, and the Fundamental Rights Agency, all of which denounced the centre’s severe overcrowding, appalling living-conditions, and failure to separate different categories of detainees.[115] 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.[116] 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 mobile phones was not permitted, and the centre was not regularly visited by a medical doctor.[117] The CPT visited the centre in 2018 and described its conditions as “appalling and totally unsuitable for long-term detention” which could “easily be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.”

Severe overcrowding has been recorded in the facility, and despite having space for 374 persons, it has reached peaks of up to 640 detainees. For this reason, the CPT invoked Article 8(5) to urge authorities to address and solve this problem. Importantly, the CPT noted that the centre had not ensured the segregation of genders, exposing women to a risk of sexual violence. Furthermore, the CPT reported that the facility was characterised by a carceral design and prison-like environment,[118] was found to be inadequately lit and ventilated, toilets were in a poor condition, there were issues with access to hot water, bedding was not clean, and detainees complained about not being provided with clothes and shoes. Detainees were allowed to exercise outside for less than 30 minutes a day—an amount of time deemed insufficient by the CPT. Interpretation services were lacking and while doctors and nurses were available, they were too few compared to the number of detainees. Seemingly, moreover, the centre did not possess the necessary medical equipment and upon arrival detainees did not undergo a medical screening. The use of personal phones (provided they do not have a camera) was allowed.

3.3g Tavros (Petrou Ralli). In use since 2005, the centre, which is located on the premises of the Attica Aliens Police Directorate, was rebranded as a pre-removal detention centre in 2016 and has the capacity of 340.[119]

The detention conditions in the centre have long been a source of criticism from both domestic and international observers.[120] In S.D., R.U., and Bygylashvili, the 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. In fact, when outdoor exercise was permitted, at times it rarely exceed 15 minutes.[121] 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.[122] According to the GCR, detention conditions remained problematic as of 2018.[123]

With 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.[124]

3.3h Kos (Pyli). The pre-removal centre opened in 2017 and is located next to the Kos hotspot. Whilst the facility initially featured a capacity of 150, as of December 2018 it had increased to 500.[125] At least some of the detention areas in the centre consist of two-room prefabricated units. Each cell contains two bunk beds and measures nine square metres. Rooms are equipped with both a shower and a toilet, and a specific place for worship is available within the facility.[126] The centre adopts an open-door regime: detainees are thus free to move about within the facility throughout the day.[127]

In 2018, the CPT evaluated detention conditions in the centre as good. Detainees are allowed to use their mobile phones, provided that they are not equipped with a camera. However, no doctor was present at the centre and detainees did not undergo medical screenings upon arrival.[128]

3.3i Lesvos (Moria). Inaugurated in 2015, the pre-removal centre was re-opened in 2017. The centre is located inside the hotspot facility itself and had an initial capacity of 150—although as of December 2018, this had increased to 210.[129] Cells measure 47 square metres and can accommodate up to 12 or 15 people.[130]

Detention conditions in Lesvos have been evaluated as poor by the CPT, following its visit to the facility in 2018. The delegation identified several problems with the sanitary and ventilation equipment, and noted that detainees were not provided with an adequate supply of hygiene products. Moreover, although detainees were required to clean their own cells, they were not given the equipment necessary to do so. Bedding items were found to be dirty, as they had not been replaced for months, and no distribution of clothing or shoes took place at the facility. In addition, there have been multiple allegations of mistreatment by police staff at the facility. The majority of detainees are in a closed-door regime, and they can only exit their room for three hours a day. No doctor was permanently present at the facility. Detainees could only use their own phone twice per week, despite the fact that all of the centre’s phones were out of service.[131]

3.3j Thessaloniki Aliens Police Directorate. As of 2016, the facility was composed of nine cells; each approximately 50 square metres in size and with the capacity for up to 10-14.[132] During its 2016 visit, the CPT found that cells were not equipped with beds, plinths or chairs. Instead, filthy mattresses were placed directly on the floor and 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 EUR was insufficient for covering the detainee’s needs. 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 decontaminated, 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.[133] Also in 2016, 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.[134] 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.[135] In 2018, the CPT reported that unaccompanied children under “protective custody” were allegedly detained in this facility.[136]

3.3k Athens International Airport. The 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.[137] 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.[138] AITIMA visited the centre that 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.[139] 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.[140] 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 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).[141]

3.3l RICs (“hotspots.”) 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.[142] 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. Following pressure from NGOs and overcrowding due to delays in the asylum and relocation process, de facto detention has not been applied since 2017 in the RICs located on Aegean islands.[143]

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 a 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 that 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 poor sanitary facilities.[144]

3.3m RIC in Fylakio (Evros). As of 2018, the centre had a capacity of 240, and consisted of four wings. Importantly, it is not covered by the EU’s hotspot approach.[145] 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.[146] 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 an 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.[147] In consequence, the GDP qualifies the Fylakio RIC as a secure reception centre. As of 2018, Fylakio is the only RIC applying measures amounting to de facto detention in practice.[148]

Material conditions at the Fylakio RIC have been evaluated as good by the CPT, following its 2018 visit. Nonetheless, the delegation identified a number of problems. First, the number of detainees exceeds the capacity of the facility and because of overcrowding, non-citizens have been found sleeping on the floors in every available room.[149] Seemingly, after the CPT visit, Greek authorities have extended the centre so as to increase available places: additional units were created by installing 13 new containers with the assistance of UNHCR.[150] The CPT raised concern over the lack of age segregation at the facility, over allegations of physical mistreatment of detainees, and over the absence of a permanent doctor at the facility. On a brighter note, detainees have access to the internet.[151]

 


[1] H. Smith, “Aid Workers Warn of Catastrophe in Greek Refugee Camps,” 17 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/17/aid-workers-warn-of-catastrophe-in-greek-refugee-camps

[2] H. Smith, “Aid Workers Warn of Catastrophe in Greek Refugee Camps,” 17 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/17/aid-workers-warn-of-catastrophe-in-greek-refugee-camps

[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] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Refugees and Migrants Sea Arrivals in Europe,” December 2016, https://data2.unhcr.org/ar/documents/download/53447

[5] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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 (HRW), “Greece: Asylum Seekers in Abysmal Conditions on Islands,” October 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/23/greece-asylum-seekers-abysmal-conditions-islands; UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “UNHCR Urges Action to Ease Conditions on Greek Uslands (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 Orostitution and Child Pornography, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Oornography, 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] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), “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; UN Committee against Torture (CAT), “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; UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), “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; UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), “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] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2018, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece

[10] For a consolidated version see “Νόμος 4375/2016,” Kodiko.gr, https://www.kodiko.gr/nomologia/document_navigation/183712

[11] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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

[12] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[13] Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), Global Detention Project (GDP), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), and Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR), “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry,” Red Line Project, February 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/crossing_a_red_line_REPORT.pdf; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[14] 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

[15] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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 (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2018, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece

[16] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[17] Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), Global Detention Project (GDP), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), and Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR), “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry,” Red Line Project,  February 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/crossing_a_red_line_REPORT.pdf; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

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

[19] 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

[20] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[21] 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

[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] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[25] 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

[26] 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

[27] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[28] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), “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

[29] UN Committee against Torture (CAT), “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] Committee against Torture, "Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Greece," CAT/C/GRC/CO/7, 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

[31] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

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

[33] 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

[34] Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), “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

[35] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), “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; UN Committee against Torture (CAT), “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

[36] 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

[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/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 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

[38] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[39] 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

[40] 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

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

[42] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[43] Committee against Torture, "Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Greece," CAT/C/GRC/CO/7, 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

[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] 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 (GCR), “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

[46] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), “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

[47] UN Committee against Torture (CAT), “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

[48] Committee against Torture, "Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Greece," CAT/C/GRC/CO/7, 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GRIndex.aspx

[49] 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

[50] The Greek Ombudsman, “Annual Report of the Greek Ombudsman for the year 2017,” March 2018, https://www.synigoros.gr/resources/annual_report_2017_site.pdf

[51] The Greek Ombudsman, “Rights of Children on the Move,” 2018, https://www.synigoros.gr/?i=childrens-rights.en.recentinterventions.583469

[52] Hellenic Republic Ministry of Health, “Response of the Greek Government to the Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its Visit to Greece from 10 to 19 April 2018”, CPT/Inf (2019) 5,” https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9c

[53] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[54] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[55] 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

[56] Council of Europe (COE), “The CPT and Greece,” https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece

[57] 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 (WGAD), “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; 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

[58] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), “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; UN Committee against Torture (CAT), “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; UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), “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; UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), “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

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

[60] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[61] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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, “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2018, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2017update.pdf; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[62] The Greek Ombudsman, “Migration Flows and Refugee Protection: Administrative Challenges and Human Rights Issues,” April 2017, https://www.synigoros.gr/resources/docs/greek_ombudsman_migrants_refugees_2017_en.pdf

[63] Eurostat, “Asylum and Managed Migration,” http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/asylum-and-managed-migration/data/database

[64] N. Nielson, “Private Security Firms Cash in on Guarding EU Borders,” EU Observer, 25 September 2013, euobserver.com/priv-immigration/121454

[65] N. Nielsen, “Private Security Firms Bid on Greek Asylum Centres,” EU Observer, 2 April 2014, https://euobserver.com/justice/123711

[66] Alexandros Konstantinou (Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), September 2019.

[67] D. Angeli, A. Dimitriadi, and A. Triandafyllidou, “Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Irregular Migration Control Policies in Greece, “Migration and Detention Assessment Report,” Global Governance Program European University Institute (EUI), October 2014, http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/33431/MIDAS_REPORT_2014_10.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

[68] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[69] 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

[70] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Refugees and Migrants Sea Arrivals in Europe,” December 2016, https://data2.unhcr.org/ar/documents/download/53447

[71] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Mediterranean Situation: Greece,” Operational Portal – Refugee Situations, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean/location/5179

[72] 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.

[73] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), 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  

[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 14 to 23 April 2015,” CPT/Inf (2016) 4,” March 2016, http://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/greece

[75] 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

[76] Precisely, the Lesvos centre re-opened in 2017.

[77] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf; Alexandros Konstantinou (Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), September 2019.

[78] 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

[79] 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; 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] 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

[81] 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

[82] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf; 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 (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), December 2016, http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/greece; 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[83]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

[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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a; Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

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

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

[87] Ekathimerini, “Migrants Injured in Protest Against Detention Conditions in Igoumenitsa,” 24 October 2012, www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_24/10/2012_467141

[88] 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/

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

[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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[91] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[92] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[93] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, “CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[94] 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; 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[95] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[96] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[97] 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

[98] 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

[99] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[100] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[101] 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

[102] 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

[103] 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

[104]  Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[105] 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

[106] 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

[107] 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

[108] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[109] 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

[110] 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

[111] 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

[112] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[113] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[114] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

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

[116] 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

[117] 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

[118] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[119] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

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

[121] 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

[122] 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

[123] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[124] 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

[125] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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 (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[126] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[127] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a“”

[128] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a“”

[129] Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), “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 (GCR), “Country Report: Greece,” Asylum Information Database (AIDA), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), March 2019, http://www.asylumineurope.org/sites/default/files/report-download/aida_gr_2018update.pdf

[130] 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 oOut by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[131] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a“”

[132] 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

[133] 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

[134] 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

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

[136] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a“”

[137] 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

[138] 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

[139] 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

[140] 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

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

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

[143] 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; Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), Global Detention Projec (GDP)t, Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), and Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR), “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry,” Red Line Project,  February 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/crossing_a_red_line_REPORT.pdf; I. Majcher, “The EU Hotspot Approach: Blurred Lines between Restriction on and Deprivation of Liberty,” Bordercriminologies, April 2018, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/04/eu-hotspot

[144] 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

[145] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

[146] European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and Greek Council for Refugees (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

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

[148] Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), Global Detention Project (GDP), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), and Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR), “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry,” Red Line Project,  February 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/crossing_a_red_line_REPORT.pdf

[149] 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 10 to 19 April 2018, CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a“”

[150] Hellenic Republic Ministry of Health, “Response of the Greek Government to the Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its Visit to Greece from 10 to 19 April 2018”, CPT/Inf (2019) 5,” https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9c

[151] 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 10 to 19 April 2018,” CPT/Inf (2019) 4,” February 2019, https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
31,126
2018
25,810
2017
14,864
2016
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
8,200
2018
Number of detained asylum seekers
18,204
2018
9,534
2017
4,072
2016
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2017
255
2016
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
93,365
2018
68,110
2017
204,820
2016
911,470
2015
73,670
2014
42,615
2013
72,420
2012
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
6,290 - 7,570
2013
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
8
2018
9
2017
15
2013
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
6,417
2018
5,212
2017
6,033
2016
7,260
2013
5,965
2013
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
0
2018
0
2014
Number of immigration offices
0
2018
0
2014
Number of transit facilities
1
2016
Number of criminal facilities
13
2013
Number of ad hoc facilities
0
2016
0
2014
Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
12,490
2018
18,765
2017
19,055
2016
14,390
2015
27,055
2014
25,465
2013
16,650
2012
Number of deportations/forced returns only
7,760
2018
Not Available
2017
Not Available
2016
Not Available
2015
Not Available
2014
Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
41
2017
56
2016
14
2015
37
2014
59
2013
Criminal prison population
10,580
2019
9,566
2017
13,147
2013
12,479
2011
Percentage of foreign prisoners
52.9
2019
54.3
2017
63.2
2011
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
99
2019
89
2017
120
2013
111
2012
Population
10,400,000
2020
10,955,000
2015
11,400,000
2012
International migrants
1,211,382
2019
1,220,400
2017
1,242,000
2015
988,200
2013
International migrants as a percentage of the population
10.9
2017
11.3
2015
8.9
2013
Estimated number of undocumented migrants
470,000 - 470,000
2013
Refugees
80,454
2019
61,460
2018
38,999
2017
46,381
2016
24,838
2015
3,485
2014
2,100
2012
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
4.25
2016
0.94
2014
0.19
2012
0.1
2011
Total number of new asylum applications
92,661
2019
58,134
2016
9,450
2014
8,220
2013
9,580
2012
Stateless persons
198
2018
198
2016
214
2015
178
2014
154
2012
Top nationalities of detainees
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Number of detained accompanied minors
Number of detained stateless persons
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Refugee recognition rate

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
21,498
2014
21,910
2013
22,083
2012
Remittances to the country
823,900,000
2015
1,629
2011
Remittances from the country
1,932
2010
Unemployment Rate
2014
2009
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
327
2012
425
2011
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
29 (Very high)
2015
29 (Very high)
2014
29 (Very high)
2012
Immigration Index Score
16
2011
World Bank Rule of Law Index
64 (-1)
2012
67 (-0.7)
2011
67 (-0.8)
2010
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Detention for deterrence
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Civil law
2017
Constitutional guarantees?
Yes (Constitution of Greece, art. 6) 1975 2008
1975
No ()
Core pieces of national legislation
Law 4375/2016 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) (2016) 2018
2016
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») (2005) 2015
2005
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») (2011) 2016
2011
Immigration-status-related grounds
Detention for failing to respect a voluntary removal order
2019
Detention to prevent absconding
2019
Detention to effect removal
2019
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality
2019
Detention during the asylum process
2019
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
2019
Detention on health-related grounds
2017
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Yes (Yes)
2019
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
Unauthorized entry ()
2019
Unauthorized exit ()
2019
Unauthorized re-entry ()
2019
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?
No
2019
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
540
2019
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
3
2019
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
90
2019
540
2014
Provision of basic procedural standards
Information to detainees (Yes)
2019
Right to legal counsel (Yes)
2019
Independent review of detention (Yes)
2019
Compensation for unlawful detention (No)
2019
Access to free interpretation services (No) No
2013
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (Yes) No
2013
Types of non-custodial measures
Supervised release and/or reporting (Yes) No
2014
Release on bail (Yes) No
2014
Registration (deposit of documents) (Yes) No
2014
Designated non-secure housing (Yes) No
2014
Electronic monitoring (No) No
2014
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Asylum seekers (Provided) Yes
2018
Unaccompanied minors (Provided) Yes
2018
Accompanied minors (Provided) Yes
2018
Survivors of torture () Yes
2016
Stateless persons (Provided)
2014
Elderly (Not mentioned)
2014
Pregnant women (Not mentioned)
2014
Mandatory detention
No (No)
2019
Re-entry ban
Yes
2019
Additional legislation
Regulations, standards, guidelines
Longest recorded instance of immigration detention.
Average length of detention
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry
Impact of alternatives
Expedited/fast track removal

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1997
1997
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 1999
1999
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 1988
1988
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2012
2012
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
4
2019
4
2019
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Recommendation 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
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
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
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

2012
Committee against Torture 21. The State party should: (a) Refrain from detaining asylum seekers and irregular or undocumented migrants for prolonged periods, use detention as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period possible and continue the application of non-custodial measures, in conformity with international standards; (b) Guarantee that detained asylum seekers and migrants have access to counsel, including legal aid services; (c) Guarantee judicial review or other meaningful and effective avenues to challenge the legality of administrative immigration detention; (d) Take the necessary measures to ensure appropriate reception conditions for asylum seekers and migrants; (e) Strengthen its efforts to ensure adequate living conditions in all immigration centres; (f) Ensure that asylum seekers and migrants held in detention are provided with adequate medical and mental health care, including a medical examination upon admission and routine assessments; (g) Establish an effective and independent oversight mechanism of the Reception and Identification Service to which individuals held in immigration detention can bring complains; (h) Ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law-enforcement officials are promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated by the authorities, that the perpetrators are prosecuted, and if found guilty, punished and that victims are provided with redress. 23. The State party should: (a) Ensure that children are not detained solely because of their immigration status. Detention should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period possible; (b) End the practice of detaining migrants and asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied children, in police holding cells and other detention facilities that are not suitable for long stays. 2019
2019
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
CATHB, Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 2014
2014
ECHR, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights 1974
1974
ECHRP7, Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 1987
1987
ECHRP1, Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 1974
1974
ECPT, European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment 1991
1991
CPCSE, Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse 2009
2009
ECCF, European Convention on Consular Functions 1983
1983
Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints
Observation Date
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) S.D. v. Greece. 53541/07. 11 June 2009
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Tabesh v. Greece. 8256/07. ECtHR. 26 November 2009
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) A.A. v. Greece. 12186/08. ECtHR. 22 July 2010
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece. 30696/09. ECtHR. 21 January 2011
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Rahimi v. Greece. 8687/08. ECtHR. 5 April 2011
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) R.U. v. Greece. 2237/08. ECtHR. 7 June 2011
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Efremidze v. Greece. 33225/08. ECtHR. 21 June 2011
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Mahmundi and others v. Greece. 14902/10. ECtHR. 31 July 2012
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Bygylashvili v. Greece. 58164/10. ECtHR. 25 September 2012
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Lin v. Greece. 58158/10. ECtHR. 6 November 2012
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Khuroshvili v. Greece. 58165/10. ECtHR. 12 December 2013
2019
Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) N.S and M.E. Joined Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10. 21 December 2011.
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) A.F. v. Greece, 53709/11, 7 October 2013.
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Mahammad and others v. Greece, 48352/12, 15 January 2015.
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Tatishvili v. Greece, 26452/11, 31 July 2014.
2019
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Horshill v. Greece, 70427/11, 1 August 2013.
2019
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms
Recommendation Year
Observation 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. 2017

2017
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.

2012
2012
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.

2009
2009
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.

2014
2014
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.

2016
2016
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

§76: The CPT recommends once again that the Greek authorities take vigorous steps to stamp out ill-treatment of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the police under aliens’ legislation. In particular, effective investigations into all instances of alleged ill-treatment should be carried out and the officers concerned be held responsible. Police officers should regularly be reminded that foreign nationals should be treated with respect and that any form of ill-treatment of detained persons – including verbal abuse, racist behaviour and threats of ill-treatment – is unacceptable and will be punished accordingly. Further, senior officers should be held accountable for their line-management responsibilities.

§78: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that all foreign nationals who are deprived of their liberty by the police under aliens’ legislation are granted the rights of notification of custody, access to a lawyer and access to a doctor and are placed in a position to effectively exercise these rights as from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty. As regards the right of access to a lawyer, this should include the right to have access to legal advice as well as, when foreign nationals are not in a position to pay for a lawyer themselves, the right to benefit from access to free legal aid.

§ 79: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that detained foreign nationals are systematically and fully informed of their rights, their legal situation (including the grounds for their detention) and the procedure applicable to them as from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty (that is, from the moment when they are obliged to remain with the police), if necessary, with the assistance of a qualified interpreter. Further, all detained persons should be systematically provided with a copy of the leaflet setting out this information in a language they can understand

§ 80: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that, when necessary, interpretation services are made available to detained foreign nationals in all pre-removal centres, RICs and police and border guard stations in Greece (including, for instance, by means of phone-or video-conferencing). To this end, sufficient funding should be made available. Further, detained persons should not be required to sign official documents in a language they do not understand. To this end, a copy of these documents should systematically be provided to detainees in a language they can understand or the content be translated.

§ 81: The CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities take effective steps to ensure that custody registers are properly maintained, accurately record the dates and times of actual apprehension, admission, placement in a cell, release or transfer, and reflect all other aspects of custody.

§82: The CPT recommends that (...) information leaflet provided to detainees should also explain the right to make a complaint and detained foreign nationals should be informed about different complaints bodies and on how to make a complaint.

§ 83: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that (...) all foreign nationals who declare their intention to sign up to IOM-assisted voluntary return from Greece to their country of origin should be fully informed of the consequences of their decision (including their detention) before signing, so that they can give an informed consent.

§ 85; The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that all detained persons who are isolated for medical reasons are provided with at least some meaningful human contact every day (for instance, during outdoor exercise).

§ 87: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate action to remedy these shortcomings and refurbish Isaakio Police and Border Guard Station in line with the recommendations set out in paragraph 94 to ensure that detained persons are held in decent and clean conditions without exceeding the establishment’s capacity. If this is not possible, Isaakio Police and Border Guard Station should be taken out of service

§ 89: The CPT calls on the Greek authorities to ensure that women and children are never detained in the same cell as unrelated men.

§ 90: the CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take urgent action to remedy (the) shortcomings at Drapetsona Police Station (...) to ensure that detained persons are held in decent and clean conditions.

§ 92: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that the detention cell of the Security Police Department on the third floor of Omonia Police Station is disinfected and maintained in a decent state of cleanliness and repair.

§ 94: The CPT once again calls on the Greek authorities to ensure that: - the number of persons held at any time in any police and border guard station does not exceed the establishment’s capacity (calculated on the basis of 4 m² of living space per person); - each detained person is provided with a mattress, a blanket, and bedding – all clean – and a means of rest, such as a plinth or a bed; - all detained persons are provided with adequate and appropriate food free of charge, which includes at least one hot meal a day; - all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours are provided with a basic sanitary kit, free of charge; - cells are maintained in a decent state of cleanliness; - cells, including sanitary facilities, are maintained in an adequate state of repair and offer both sufficient access to natural light and adequate artificial lighting; - all detained persons staying longer than 24 hours are provided with access to hot water for the purpose of washing. Further, the CPT reiterates once again its recommendation that steps be taken to ensure that all persons detained for longer than 24 hours are offered access to outdoor exercise every day.

§ 97: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate steps at Fylakio RIC to ensure that: - the financial and staffing resources of the centre are substantially increased, such that all those persons who are required to undergo the reception and identification procedure can be accommodated and processed in a timely manner, without being previously placed in detention for weeks or months on end; - vulnerable persons (e.g. families with children, pregnant women, etc.) are immediately transferred to open reception facilities where they can receive appropriate care and support for their specific needs, which also implies that the number of places in these facilities should be increased. As regards unaccompanied children, reference is made to the CPT’s recommendation in paragraph 128; - the centre is regularly maintained and refurbished. To this end, sufficient funding should be made available in a swift manner; - all detainees are provided with sufficient hygiene products and appropriate clothing, according to their needs.

§ 98: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate steps to ensure that women and children are never detained in the same wing as unrelated men.

§ 99: The CPT recommends that a programme of activities (educational, recreational and sports) is developed for persons detained longer than a few days.

§ 107: the CPT calls on the Greek authorities to take immediate action to: - drastically reduce the occupancy levels at Fylakio Pre-removal Centre, so as to ensure that every detained person has his/her own bed and mattress. To this end, the number of persons transferred at any given point in time should not exceed the capacity of the centre; - immediately transfer vulnerable persons (including families with children, pregnant women, etc.) to suitable open reception facilities, where they can receive appropriate care for their specific needs. As regards unaccompanied children, reference is made to the recommendation in paragraph 128; - never detain women and children in the same cell as unrelated men. Further, the CPT once again calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that: - official occupancy rates are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4 m² of space per detainee in multiple-occupancy accommodation, and are respected in practice; - all detainees are offered a bed, mattress, blanket and bedding, all clean; - all centres have adequate lighting (including daylight), ventilation and heating/cooling; - detention cells and accommodation units are equipped with tables and chairs and all detainees provided with personal lockable space; - all centres are regularly refurbished and maintained as well as disinfected. To this end, sufficient funding should be made available in a swift and non-bureaucratic manner; - all detainees have access to hot water, including at night.

§ 108: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take steps to remove the rolls of razor blade wire and the wire-mesh fences at Moria and Pyli Pre-removal Centres and review the design and layout of the prison-like cells at Fylakio Pre-removal Centre.

§ 109: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that detainees in all pre-removal centres in Greece are provided with clothes and footwear (adapted to the season), according to their needs. Further, they should also be provided with sufficient quantities of personal hygiene products, free of charge.

§ 111: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure that, in all pre-removal centres: - the emerging practice of unrestricted access to outdoor exercise throughout the day is implemented; - outdoor exercise areas are appropriately equipped (benches, shelters, etc.); - a programme of activities (educational, recreational and vocational) is developed; - at least one common association room, equipped with television and games, and one multi-faith room are set up.

§ 113: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities continue their efforts to increase the number of health-care staff and interpreters assisting them in fulfilling their task in these establishments. In particular, there should be at least one permanent doctor at Moria and Pyli Pre-removal Centres and at Fylakio RIC and a nursing presence should be ensured at all times, including during weekends or holidays; at least one psychologist and one social worker should be present at Fylakio RIC. Further, the outstanding vacant positions should be rapidly filled in all pre-removal centres.

§ 114: The CPT recommends that the necessary basic medication and medical equipment is made available in these establishments. Prescribed medication should be provided to detained persons and the equipment regularly maintained.

§ 115 The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that all newly-arrived detainees are properly interviewed and physically examined by a medical doctor or by a fully qualified nurse reporting to a doctor, as soon as possible after their admission to a pre-removal centre or a RIC. In particular, such screening should enable the identification of those with potential or acute health problems (including mental health problems) and transmissible diseases. It should also ensure a timely recording of injuries. Further, a vulnerability assessment should be carried out on arrival.

§ 116: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities ensure that all medical documentation accompanies detained persons when they are transferred to another establishment.

§ 117: The CPT reiterates once again its recommendation that the Greek authorities review the provision of health care in police and border guard stations and consider establishing a system of regular visits by doctors and/or nurses reporting to a doctor.

§ 118: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities ensure that all detained persons be able to request and obtain a medical consultation, without such requests being filtered or controlled in any way by police officers.

§ 119: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that effective medical care is provided at all facilities where irregular migrants are held.

§ 120: The CPT reiterates once again its recommendation that the Greek authorities ensure that the principle of medical confidentiality is strictly respected.

§ 122: The CPT reiterates its previous recommendation that the Greek authorities pursue their efforts to increase significantly and rapidly the number of dedicated open (or semi-open) shelter facilities for unaccompanied children. The Committee would like to receive concrete information on the Greek authorities’ plans to create additional capacity in specialised shelter facilities as well as on the funding and expected timeline.

§ 128: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities fundamentally revise their policy regarding the detention of unaccompanied children both for reception and identification purposes and under “protective custody” in places of deprivation of liberty – be it in RICs, pre-removal centres, special holding facilities for irregular migrants or police and border guard stations – in line with the principle of the best interests of the child. As a matter of priority, an end should be put to holding unaccompanied children in these establishments. Instead, they should be transferred without delay to a (semi-) open establishment specialised for juveniles (e.g. a social welfare/educational institution for juveniles).

§ 129: The CPT recommends that that the Greek authorities take steps to ensure that all detained persons who claim to be juveniles have access to a proper age assessment procedure and be treated as such until proven otherwise, unless their claim is manifestly unfounded. Further, practical solutions should be found to assist them in proving their age and reduce bureaucratic obstacles.

§ 131: The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to end the routine detention of children with their parents in police establishments upon arrival. Instead, they should be transferred to suitable reception facilities capable of catering to their specific needs.

§ 132: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities increase the staffing levels at Fylakio Pre-removal Centre.

§ 134: The CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities permit foreign nationals held by the police in pre-removal centres to retain their mobile phones and that the relevant Police Regulations be amended accordingly. Further, the CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take steps to ensure that all foreign nationals are able to make telephone calls in all police stations and pre-removal centres and that those detainees without the financial means to pay for them are offered at least one free-of-charge telephone call per month.

§ 135: The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities ensure that detained persons are able to receive visits in dedicated visiting rooms in all pre-removal centres and RICs, which should enable them to meet openly with family and friends visiting them. 2018

2018
Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission
Year in Force
Observation Date
France 2004
2004
2017
Italy 2001
2001
2017
Turkey 2001
2001
2017
Latvia 2000
2000
2017
Lithuania 2004
2004
2017
Poland 1996
1996
2017
Romania 1995
1995
2017
Russian Federation 2004
2004
2017
Switzerland 2009
2009
2017
Turkey 2002
2002
2017