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27 organisations urge the European Commission to safeguard asylum in Greece

2022-03-08

With a Joint Ministerial Decision issued on 7 June 2021, the Greek State designated Turkey as a “safe third country” for families, men, women and children of five nationalities seeking international protection in Greece. The JMD applies even to those from countries with high recognition rates for international protection, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

This decision reinforces the policy established by the March 2016 EU-Turkey Statement that shifts the responsibility to protect refugees, including unaccompanied children, arriving in Europe to third countries. The practice exposes applicants for international protection to a legal limbo whereby they are never granted access to an examination of their applications on their merits, contrary to the purpose of the Geneva Convention and of the Asylum Procedures Directive. It also leads to exclusion of people from reception conditions, resulting in inability to have access to dignified living standards and to cater for their basic subsistence needs, including health care and food.

Today, 27 organisations active in the field of asylum and migration, among them Terre des hommes Hellas, are sending an open letter to the EU Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, urging again the European Commission to promptly take the necessary measures against Greece to ensure effective compliance with legislation as well as to safeguard the integrity of the Common European Asylum System against systematic non-compliance.

Read the open letter here: Implementation of the safe third country concept in Greece