On 4 November 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) granted interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court, ordering Greece to release two unaccompanied children from detention (“protective custody”) and to transfer them to suitable accommodation.
Due to severe shortages in reception capacity, Greece continues to detain unaccompanied children in unsuitable conditions in police stations and other facilities until a place is made available for them. 257 children are currently detained under “protective custody” according to latest figures.
The two children, represented by Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), were detained in the cell of a police station in Attica for more than ten days without access to outdoor spaces and to their belongings. Detention conditions in Greek police stations are widely acknowledged as inhuman and degrading, including by the ECtHR’s rulings in H.A. and Sh.D. earlier this year.
The Strasbourg Court has granted similar interim measures last month in a case brought by Arsis concerning 20 unaccompanied children detained in the police station of Kolonos, of which 14 were held under “protective custody”. In March 2019, the Court issued interim measures in the case of two girls, represented by the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), held in the Tavros pre-removal detention centre.
The European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR) has also ordered the immediate release of unaccompanied children from “protective custody”, following a collective complaint brought by ECRE and the International Commission of Jurists, with the support of GCR.
For further information:
- ECRE, ICJ and GCR, Greece : European Committee on Social Rights decision on « immediate measures » for migrant children requires urgent action, 4 June 2019
- AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update, March 2019
*This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.
Photo: Giorgos Moutafis