January 22, 2013

Human Rights Watch: Summary Returns to Greece Violate Rights

(Rome) – Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, Human Rights Watch said in a report published today. Stowaways on ferries from Greece, including children as young as 13, are sent back by Italian authorities within hours without adequate consideration of their particular needs as children or their desire to apply for asylum.

January 21, 2013

Detainees' rights overrule absconding and rioting charges, courts rule

Two recent judgments in Italy and Greece have found detainees innocent of the charges that were brought against them by the local authorities following escape from one migration detention centre and rioting in another. Courts ruled that the actions of detained migrants in opposing their detention conditions were legitimate.

Greece: Escaping undignified conditions

The first judgment was rendered by the Criminal Court of First Instance of Igoumenitsa, Greece, on 2 October 2012 but was only made widely available when it was published online on 11 January 2013.

Fifteen migrants who had entered Greece illegally escaped from the Thesprotia Police Headquarters where they had been detained for a period ranging from 9 to 45 days. They were later arrested and charged with escaping under the Criminal Code,[1] but the judge ruled that their actions constituted a legitimate defence against their "deplorable" conditions.

January 16, 2013

Greek Court Acquits Immigrants who Escaped Appalling Detention Conditions

In the midst of ever deepening economic woes, Greece is struggling with yet another crisis, this time of a humanitarian character. It is no secret that thousands of immigrants crossing into Greece mainly from Asia and Africa are held in appalling conditions in Greek detention centres. The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants visited such centres just before the end of 2012 and faced a bleak situation (the relevant report is still forthcoming, but see the Reuters report here), while the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found already in January 2011 that returning an asylum seeker to Greece under Dublin II violates Article 3 of the ECHR (see M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece, paras 344 seq, along with a description of the horrible conditions of detention facing immigrants and asylum seekers in Greece).