Major shortcomings continue to be identified by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in its October 2017 report on the basic living needs and rights of refugees and migrants in all European countries hosting refugee and migrant populations.
In fact, for Greece, the Agency makes some serious observations, based on data from national, and international bodies, and governmental agencies, regarding the coverage of basic needs and the conditions of accommodation, detention, and living conditions of refugees and migrants fleeing our country.
Specifically, on the issues of gender-based violence, the FRA report, referring to the observations of a survey carried out by the Diotima Centre, highlights the continuing risk for women survivors of gender-based violence in reception centers.
Poor security, inadequate lighting, and the absence of police were necessary to prevent such incidents are just some of the reasons why women in temporary accommodation centers are victims of gender-based violence.
Lack of specialized services
Inadequate provision of specialized services to manage incidents of gender-based violence, the referral system, and the low accessibility of refugee women to public services (health, protection, etc.) have a detrimental effect on the level of diagnosis and reporting of such incidents.
In the eastern Aegean islands
The above conditions are compounded by a widespread lack of trust in the authorities, which leads many, if not most, cases of gender-based violence to remain in the dark for fear of stigmatization and exclusion.
According to the FRA report, this situation is exacerbated by a number of elements relating to key human rights issues. In particular: issues of living in first reception facilities, asylum procedures, return procedures, child protection, detention of migrants, legal, social and political response, crimes, and hate speech against migrants and refugees.
Specifically for Greece, the report mentions the deteriorating situation on the eastern Aegean islands, which have received the largest number of arrivals, with severe overcrowding continuing to occur and the operation of hotspots remaining problematic.
The report cites UNHCR’s call for improved reception conditions and the strengthening of qualified staff, especially in the areas of health, psychological support, and protection of unaccompanied minors, in light of the steady increase in new arrivals in recent years.
It is noted that Greece is one of the 6 countries (together with Italy, Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands) where asylum applications have continued to increase, in contrast to the others (Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Sweden) where a decrease in new applications has been observed. The main volume of applications in our country remains from people with countries of origin in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The report goes on to mention Amnesty International’s call for a temporary halt to refinements to Afghanistan until the security situation in the country is restored.
Despite the enormous needs and the fact that at least half of the unaccompanied minors are on an asylum waiting list, there is still no allocation of protection officers for unaccompanied minors under the age of 18. Finally, the report records the incidents of racist attacks recorded in the center of Athens and the attack on Pakistani workers in Aspropyrgos last month.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) was established to provide independent and evidence-based assistance and expert advice on fundamental rights to the EU institutions and Member States. It is an independent EU agency funded by the Union budget and its main task is to carry out large-scale, comparative legal and social research and to publish manuals for justice workers.