The Ministry of Citizen Protection outlined on 30 September 2019 plans for another reform of asylum legislation, shortly after a fire in Moria, Lesvos killed a mother and her new born child. Moria is hosting at four times its maximum capacity.
The upcoming legislative proposal explicitly aims to restrict the legal framework of international protection in Greece. Some of the measures presented in the plan include another modification of the composition of Appeals Committees (last changed in 2016), which would no longer include a member designated by UNHCR.
Furthermore, the reform that should be presented within the next 20 days is set to introduce more onerous requirements on asylum seekers for filing appeals, special accelerated procedures for asylum seekers refusing to be moved between reception centres, lists of safe countries of origin and safe third countries, as well as a restriction of the categories of vulnerable persons who are exempt from the fast-track border procedure.
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, urge “the Greek authorities to fast-track plans to transfer over 5,000 asylum-seekers already authorised to continue their asylum procedure on the mainland. In parallel, new accommodation places must be provided to prevent pressure from the islands spilling over into mainland Greece, where most sites are operating at capacity.”
Around 400 asylum seekers protested against conditions on the Greek island of Lesbos walking from Moria camp towards the port of Mytilene to demand better living conditions and transfers to the mainland.
For more information:
- Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection: Πρωτοβουλία Ελλάδας, Κύπρου, Βουλγαρίας για τη μεταναστευτική οδό της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου, October 2019
- In-Cyprus: Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria joint initiative on East Med migration route, October 2019
- Tvxs, ‘«Αν ζούσαν Έλληνες σε συνθήκες Μόριας, θα έκαιγαν τον καταυλισμό»’, 2 October 2019
- AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update, March 2019
Photo: Giorgos Moutafis