Stop Dublin transfers to Greece | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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07 February 2011

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee calls on the Hungarian government and the competent asylum authority, the Office of Immigration and Nationality to follow the example of Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, and the UK and stop Dublin transfers to Greece.

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that returning asylum seekers to Greece violates Article 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee calls on the Hungarian government and the competent asylum authority, the Office of Immigration and Nationality to follow the example of Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, and the UK and stop Dublin transfers to Greece. The case of M.S.S. is particularly important since Hungary is amongst the top five EU member states that returned asylum seekers to Greece in 2010.

The case of M.S.S. v Belgium & Greece concerned an Afghan asylum seeker who fled Kabul in 2008, entered the European Union through Greece and travelled on to Belgium where he applied for asylum. According to the Dublin Regulation, the first Member State that an asylum seeker enters should be the one to examine the asylum application. Therefore, Belgium returned M.S.S to Greece in June 2009, where he was detained in degrading and overcrowded conditions before living on the streets without any material support. The Court has confirmed that MSS was exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment (in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR), and that his right to an effective remedy (Article 13 of the ECHR) was violated.

The rights of refugees are violated in Greece: the evidence

In Greece, most people in need of international protection do not even have the opportunity to have their asylum claims heard. There are in Greece now more than 52,000 asylum cases to be examined. At the main asylum applications centre in the country, in Athens, only around 20 applications are accepted every week.

For those few who actually manage to apply for asylum in Greece, there’s no chance of being recognized as a refugee. Virtually no asylum seekers (0.3%) were granted international protection in Greece in 2009. For instance, while no Iraqi was recognized as a refugee in Greece, 77% of Iraqi asylum seekers were granted international protection in Germany.

The overwhelming evidence about the dysfunctional asylum system in Greece is starting to have consequences on European Governments’ policies. Belgium (as of 10 October 2010), Norway (on 15 October 2010), the UK (on 17 September 2010), and Iceland (14 October 2010) have already stopped sending asylum seekers to Greece. They have decided to examine these claims substantively in their own countries. The Netherlands is suspending transfers for those who challenge the decision to go to Greece (since 6 October 2010). Shortly before the judgment of M.S.S. came out, on 19 January 2011 Germany stopped returning asylum seekers to Greece as well.

The judgment

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that returning asylum seekers to Greece violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that returning asylum seekers to Greece violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

After being subject to detention under inhumane and inappropriate conditions the asylum seeker of Afghan nationality, M.S.S. was left on his own and had to live without shelter or any social assistance available. It all confirms that Greek asylum system is entirely paralyzed and unable to implement EU law, and make use of interprets and qualified officers.M.S.S. The Court found that the right to an effective remedy was violated by the failure of the Greek authorities to communicate the decision, not offering the applicant a real and adequate opportunity to defend his asylum application.

The Court held that Greece was to pay 1000 euros while Belgium was to pay 24900 euros to the applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

Further information on the Dublin system

– For further information on the Dublin Regulation, see ECRE, Sharing Responsibility for Refugee Protection in Europe: Dublin Reconsidered, available at http://www.ecre.org/resources/policy_papers/1058 and ECRE,Comments on the European Commission Proposal to recast the Dublin Regulation, available at: http://www.ecre.org/resources/policy_papers/1342

– ECRE supports Greece’s recent efforts to reform their asylum system. For further information on the Greek Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management, see: http://www.ydt.gr/index.php?option=ozo_content&lang=EN&perform=view&id=3246&Itemid=443

– ECRE supports . For further information on the Greek Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management, see:

– ECRE supports . For further information on the Greek Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management, see:

– For further information on the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece please see ECRE’s press release, see:http://www.ecre.org/files/2011_01_21%20ECHR%20MSS%20case%20_ECRE_final-1-1.pdf

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) is a network of 68 refugee-assisting organizations in 30 European countries, working together to protect and respect refugees. http://www.ecre.org/


 

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