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Joined open letter to Greek Prime Minister for the protection of thousands of unaccompanied refugee children in Greece

To:
The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Dear Prime Minister,

The organizations signing this letter have been engaged for many years in the field of human rights and humanitarian aid and are looking to you in the hope that you will intercede to resolve a very serious issue. This pertains to the protection of thousands of unaccompanied children, who, due to a lack of suitable and sufficient shelters, as well as a comprehensive guardianship scheme and a system of child protection, remain in unsuitable accommodation and/or detention centers for extended periods of time. It is a common secret that the situation which has taken shape in the last 5 years is not in the best interest of the child. Nor does it befit our country.

The present letter is sent because of your crucial initiative on November 24, 2019, to prioritize and to bring all the relevant competences under the Prime Minister’s office, which we, first and foremost, welcome. We must, however, bring your attention to a set of issues, which have also been underscored by the European Committee of Social Rights and which continue to put at risk the rights and the physical and mental health of unaccompanied children, who arrive in Greece. 

Open letter to Mr Notis Mitarakis Minister on Migration and Asylum

Athens, 21 January 2020

Dear Minister,

With this letter, the below signatory humanitarian, human rights and protection organizations would like to congratulate you on taking up your new post as Minister on Migration and Asylum and wish you every success in your term. We would also like to welcome your intention to establish an EU mechanism that shares responsibility of welcoming refugees and migrants.

However, we can only express deep concern at the fact that, in recent months, the public health system remains inaccessible to thousands of asylum seekers, migrants and their children, with serious consequences to their well-being and public health. Withdrawing the right to the social security number (AMKA), thus de facto annulling newcomers’ right of access to health care, coupled with overcrowding in the islands – as a result of the geographical restriction – and prolonged inadequate living conditions in refugee camps across the mainland, have led to an unprecedented, unacceptable situation, in violation of fundamental human values, national and international law.

Racist Violence Recording Network: Justice to uphold the Rule of Law in Greece

The Racist Violence Recording Network is following with great interest the Golden Dawn trial, to which it has been summoned to testify on behalf of the legal team of the “Egyptian fishermen case” – one of 154 incidents that the Network recorded in 2012.

Since its establishment in 2011, the Racist Violence Recording Network has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the dramatic increase in the number of racist attacks and how they were carried out. According to the victims’ testimonies, the most common practice, especially between 2009 and 2013, was for “patrolling” of organized black-clad pedestrians or motorcyclists as self-appointed hit squads attacking refugees and migrants on the streets, squares, or at public transport stops. In several cases of particularly brutal attacks, the victims identified among the perpetrators, people associated with Golden Dawn, who were bearing its distinctive insignia. Only a few of these incidents were officially reported to the police. The victims testified to the inability or reluctance of the prosecuting authorities to conduct adequate investigations and arrests, while most of the victims who did not have legal documents, did not report to the authorities for fear of arrest and deportation.

Press Release: The ECHR grants interim measures putting an end to the detention of unaccompanied minors in police stations

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Today, οn 10 October 2019, the European Court of Human Rights, issued a decision on interim measure, under rule 39 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in which indicates to the Greek Government:

  • to transfer the unaccompanied minors who applied to the Court and are detained at police stations, to suitable accommodation centres for unaccompanied minors
  • to ensure that their reception conditions are compatible with Article 3 of the Convention and the children’s particular status

We ensure the protection and care of children victims of neglect, abuse and trafficking.

ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth is a Non-governmental organization founded in 1992 in Greece with the aim of supporting children that face social difficulties and are at risk of social exclusion and marginalization as well as the promotion of human rights and the provision of services for socially vulnerable groups (homeless, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Roma people or people that live under the poverty level, etc.).

The “ARSIS Home” is the only shelter for the emergency accommodation of children at risk, with the capacity of hosting 23 children victims of neglect, abuse, trafficking and smuggling or at risk due to precarious family or socio-economical conditions. 

The services provided in the context of ensuring each child’s best interest include the accommodation, psychological and emotional support, integration to the education system and the social environment, activities for individual empowerment and social skills, support for their independent living.

Until today, the “ARSIS Home” has hosted more than 300 children and teenagers, for an average time of stay of three years, while ARSIS’ objective is not to cut the links with their family environment and to return to it, as long as the proper conditions have been formulated.