9 May 2014

ECRE, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Aitima have sent a letter urging the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection to immediately withdraw the Decision which prolongs the detention of migrants pending removal beyond the 18-month limit set by the EU Returns Directive.

The organisations have also called on the European Commission to press for the immediate withdrawal of the Ministerial Decision as well as any individual decisions taken in violation of the EU Return Directive. Moreover, an infringement procedure should be launched if no immediate action is taken by Greece to stop these breaches of EU law.

The Ministerial Decision concerns migrants who are already in detention on the basis of a return order and whose removal cannot be carried out because of their deemed lack of cooperation. If a migrant fails to cooperate, under the Decision, s/he can be issued a new detention order without a specified time limit.

The implementation of such a policy could affect hundreds of people. Around 7,500 migrants are detained in Greece, 300 of whom have already reached the maximum detention period of 18-months.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 9 May 2014.
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