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Segregation and containment: update on the situation of asylum seekers in Greece

The pandemic in Greece has proven to be a major accelerator of human rights abuses and new laws aimed at targeting asylum seekers and migrants. 

As Greece went in and out of lockdowns, it never lifted them for people in camps: for a year and a half, minimal movement has been allowed and a 9:00 pm curfew for the camps still stands. Since March 2020, the Greek coastguard, with the support of EU agency Frontex, has been engaged in constant, brutal and criminal pushbacks against asylum seekers arriving from Turkey either by boat or on the land border with the goal of curbing arrivals.

Meanwhile, the EU has been funding 3-meter-high walls and fences around residential camps in mainland Greece — these are not reception and identification centers, but long-term stay camps.

As of July 1, 2021, refusing to be accommodated in these camps or other government-arranged facilities will lead asylum seekers to lose their cashcard support, provided by the EU. Moreover, three weeks ago a joint decree of the Greek foreign and migration ministers designated Turkey as a safe third country for asylum seekers coming from Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. People seeking asylum coming from these countries will not be given the opportunity to go into the merits of their asylum request but will be immediately rejected on the basis that Turkey is a safe third country for them. This system has already been applied to asylum seekers from Syria since 2016 and has led to hundreds of people being stuck in a legal limbo: Turkey hasn’t accepted any deportees since March 2020. 

Moria and Lesbo campIl campo di Moria e Lesbo dopo l’incendio

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