Unaccompanied children continue to be detained with adults in Greece and irregular migrants are still held for prolonged periods in unacceptable conditions, including in overcrowded and severely unhygienic facilities. In a damning report, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) notes that little has been done since their 2011 visit to tackle systemic deficiencies regarding the conditions of detention of irregular migrants and allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, which concerned mainly kicks, slaps, punches and blows with batons as well as verbal abuse and threats, including of a racist nature.

Deficiencies were particularly noted with regards to Petrou Ralli holding facility which has been the subject of several rulings of the European Court of Human Rights condemning Greece for inhumane treatment (Tatishvili v. Greece and Bygylashvili v. Greece). The persisting deficiencies is made all the worse given the lack of regular independent oversight by an Ombudsman.

With regards to pre-departure centres, the Committee found that the facilities and treatment of people held in these centres were based on a security approach, with detainees treated in many respects as criminal suspects. It was highlighted that centres were not tailored to the needs and requirements of migrants, and that the vast majority of detained persons met by the CPT’s delegation appeared to have no understanding of their legal situation or what would happen at the end of the period of detention, highlighting the lack of access to legal assistance and representation for people to assert their rights. 


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 31 October 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.