AITIMA - Out the Back Door

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AITIMA tarafından hazırlanan "Out the Back Door: The Dublin II Regulation and illegal deportations from Greece" başlıklı raprorun Giriş bölümünü aşağıda bulabilirsiniz.

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This report follows up on our initial report, A gamble with the right to asylum in Europe: Greek asylum policy and the Dublin II Regulation[1], published in 2008, which described the serious shortcomings of the Greek asylum system. Our view, that no asylum seeker should be returned to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation, was shared by international human rights and refugee protection agencies, including the UNHCR[2], Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Unfortunately, European countries party to the Dublin II Regulation have far from implemented these recommendations; Norway’s suspension of transfers to Greece in the spring of 2008 was partially lifted in spring 2009.

We argue that the situation in Greece has deteriorated to such an extent that European states cannot uphold their obligations under refugee and human rights law while at the same time returning asylum seekers to Greece. Furthermore, a suspension on transfers to Greece ought to be implemented until evidence can be provided that Dublin returnees will enjoy effective protection against refoulement in Greece and will have access to safe and adequate asylum procedures. Despite recognizing the vast shortcomings of the Greek asylum system, the general attitude displayed by participating Dublin states has been that transfers to Greece do not constitute a breach of the principle of non-refoulement. That conclusion is also reached in a 2008 decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR):

… there is nothing to suggest that those returned to Greece under the Dublin Regulation run the risk of onward removal to a third country where they will face ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 without being afforded a real opportunity, on the territory of Greece, of applying to the Court for a Rule 39 measure to prevent such.[3]

In this case, the ECtHR is referring to a legal remedy under Rule 39 of its procedures, whereby individuals wishing to challenge an order made by a national court of a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights can petition the ECtHR directly for an interim measure to preserve and protect the rights and interests of the parties in a dispute before the Court, pending a decision on the admissibility and merits of the case. It is a procedure that has increasingly been used in extradition and deportation cases of asylum seekers. However, in effect it is a procedure that is hard to access for asylum seekers[4], especially in Greece.

Based on investigations carried out by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) and AITIMA in Greece, this report aims to demonstrate that asylum seekers and Dublin returnees to the territory of Greece continue to risk refoulement and are not able to contest deportation or the decision behind it.

Asylum seekers face particularly great diffi culties as a result of:

1. The lack of access to asylum procedures.
2. Serious fl aws in the Greek asylum system.
3. Illegal deportations[5].

This also applies to asylum seekers returning to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation.

We will present briefl y the two fi rst problems mentioned, as they have already been thoroughly documented in a number of recent reports from EU investigative bodies and human rights organizations. We have also covered these challenges in our previous report, where the Greek asylum procedure and practice was found effectively to undermine the legal right to asylum as afforded by relevant international human rights law.

In this follow-up report we will present a number of alarming cases, including instances of illegal deportations by Greek authorities of persons with pending asylum cases. Such deportations take place in such an arbitrary manner that there is no basis for claiming that Dublin returnees enjoy a higher degree of protection than others.

The UNHCR in Greece underlined that “there is a real risk that an asylum seeker transferred from other European states to Greece will face the same serious shortcomings as other asylum seekers, that may lead to the rejection of his or her asylum application and the exposure of the individual to a deportation operation to Turkey without proper assessment of his/her case”[6]. The UNHCR offi ce in Turkey echoes their concern: there is a serious danger that Turkey will deport such individuals to Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan without assessing their need of protection[7].

  5. By ‘illegal deportations’ we refer to the process and practice of removal of asylum seekers without their cases having been examined, or the removal of persons who wish to apply for asylum but who are in effect barred from presenting their claim to the authorities. We also include in this defi nition the following groups: Deportation of asylum seekers who have been refused protection in Greece after a fl awed assessment of their claim, as well as those in need of protection who have chosen not to apply for asylum in Greece, being aware of its flawed asylum assessment procedures.
  6. Interview with Mr. Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, UNHCR,Athens, 22.04.09
  7. Interview with UNHCR Turkey, 28.04.2009


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