Greece has been ground zero in Europe’s efforts to halt irregular migration for several years. At the same time, the country’s economic crisis has exasperated social divisions leading to increasing violence and hostility directed at foreigners. With massive financial and operational assistance provided by the European Union, Greece has confronted migratory pressures by emphasizing interdiction, detention, and removal, to the detriment of the protection of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers. Conditions at its detention centres are regarded as among the worst in Europe, and numerous UN bodies have published scathing reports about the state of these facilities. In addition, domestic and regional courts have issued more than a dozen judgements condemning Greece’s detention practices. In one case from 2012, a judge in a domestic court acquitted several migrants of charges related to their escape from a detention facility in the port of Igoumenitsa on the basis that the conditions of their detention violated the country’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Read profile.
Turkey’s new Law on Foreigners and International Protection recently came into force, providing the country’s first overarching legal framework on migration and asylum. The law also contains new provisions on immigration detention and shifts oversight of Turkey’s detention centres from the police to a new civilian institution. Although observers have welcomed the improved procedural standards provided in the law, they have been critical of its inclusion of controversial statutes found in EU legislation—including provisions for accelerated procedures for asylum seekers—and its failure to eliminate the country’s geographical limits on international protection. There are also concerns that the recent adoption of an EU-Turkey readmission agreement could add to the already considerable migratory pressures confronting Turkey because it will lead to growing numbers of third-country nationals being “sent back” to the country, where they will likely be detained on arrival. While Turkey has been repeatedly criticized for its often appalling detention conditions and restrictive asylum policies, international observers have lauded its efforts to accommodate Syrian refuges. As of March, there were approximately 800,000 Syrian refugees in the country, as well as more than 80,000 non-European asylum seekers. Read profile.
GDP IN THE NEWS
New publication: Mugak, the magazine of the Centro de Estudios y Documentacion sobre Racismo y Xenophobia based in San Sebastian, Spain, published an article by Mariette Grange in its recent edition about “alternatives to detention,” titled “Alternativas al Internamiento de Inmigrantes en Situacion Irregular.” It is available here.
Workshop: On 17 March, Michael Flynn participated in a workshop on the “criminalisation” of migrants in Europe hosted by PICUM and the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. The workshop was part of the EU-funded FIDUCIA project.