Greece: Systematic detention of asylum seekers and migrants would be ‘gravely irresponsible’

Amendments to Greece’s migration and asylum laws, which the Greek parliament will vote on tomorrow, would allow for the automatic detention of asylum seekers whose appeals have been rejected and those subjected to return procedures. With the proposed amendments, the Government also confirms the intention to replace open camps on the islands with ‘closed controlled centres’.

“Forcing groups of people into confined and often overcrowded spaces is not the behaviour of a responsible government amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This new law is not only dangerous for detained people’s health, it goes against international law under which migration detention should only be used as a last resort”

Adriana Tidona, Migration Researcher at Amnesty International

The new law would also impose new restrictions on the rights of asylum seekers at various stages of their asylum procedures, including by increasing the number of cases where appeals are seen only by a single-judge committee, a procedure that  provides weaker procedural safeguards for applicants. The proposal also removes the possibility for people whose asylum application is rejected to be considered for humanitarian protection, an alternative form of protection commonly available to people seeking safety.

“The Greek government has a responsibility to protect asylum seekers and migrants at all times, but they have particular responsibilities during COVID-19. The government should reconsider its gravely irresponsible proposals to make migration and asylum detention automatic, and instead consider safe, non-custodial alternatives.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Amnesty International press office on [email protected] +32 2 548 27 73 or +32 483 680 812


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