The Greek NGO AITIMA has released a new report (Greek link only) on the asylum procedures in Greece, with a special focus on the violations that are occurring on the Greek islands after the EU-Turkey deal.
In the report ‘’Asylum Seekers on Hold “, AITIMA noted that several problems are common both on the mainland and on the islands. This includes:
- Long delays in the asylum procedure at first and second instance;
- Lack of accurate information on the asylum procedures. AITIMA said that “this problem is particularly intense at the islands;”
- Lack of adequate legal assistance, in particular during first instance procedures;
AITIMA added, however, that “those who were unlucky enough to arrive on the Greek islands” after March 20th, 2016, “found themselves in an even more difficult situation.”
AITIMA said that:
- Asylum seekers being stranded on the islands is based on a “highly controversial restriction of residence”;
- Islands are being transformed in detention centres for people bound to be returned to Turkey;
- Asylum process: delays of up to eight months while lodging of asylum applications were noted, in particular on the islands, together with “arbitrary prioritisation of specific nationalities;”
- Admissibility: after the EU-Turkey deal, the “asylum procedure at the islands” was reduced in two thirds of cases “in an admissibility evaluation of the applications on the basis of whether Turkey constitutes a safe country,” often of low quality according to AITIMA.