23 May 2014

On 22 May 2014, the International Commission of Jurists and the ECRE sent their third joint submission to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe concerning Greece’s implementation of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in M.S.S. v Belgium & Greece (no. 30696/09).

The submission has been made in advance of the next meeting of the Committee of Ministers on 3-5 June, at which the body will monitor the Greek government’s execution of the judgment, with a focus on assessing the Greek asylum procedure and detention conditions.

ICJ and ECRE highlight the lack of independence of the new asylum Appeals Committees, difficulties in accessing asylum offices, the inadequate provision of free legal assistance to asylum seekers, and the discretionary suspension of deportation orders pending appeal.

Also criticised are Greek detention conditions, practical obstacles to lodging complaints about detention conditions, the discriminatory rationale underpinning Operation Xenios Zeus, and Greek policy on the detention of asylum seekers, detention pending removal and detention on medical grounds.

In addition, ICJ and ECRE raise their concern regarding recent reports by Pro Asyl and Amnesty International of alleged push-backs committed by Greek authorities against migrants attempting to reach Greek territory and seek asylum.

ECRE members Aitima and the Greek Council for Refugees assisted with this submission.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 23 May 2014.
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