November 10, 2008

Press Release


It is with regret that we note that once again the Asylum Department of the Aliens' Directorate of Athens is adopting and implementing policies that constitute a flagrant violation of the fundamental right of asylum seekers to have access to the asylum procedure. Τhe previous policy of accepting only a very limited number of asylum applications was recently replaced by a complete suspension of the process of accepting new asylum applications. The consequences of this practice were not difficult to predict: during the weekend of 25-26 October, after having been barred from the asylum process for two months, an unprecedented number of asylum seekers (around 3000) queued up outside the building of the Aliens' Directorate at Petrou Ralli Street, in order to claim asylum under conditions which degraded their human dignity. The response of the police was to resort to violence in order to repel the crowd; as a result, many were injured while the death of a migrant during these events is now under investigation following witness accusations.

October 7, 2008



Over the past 20 days the Aliens' Department of Athens has closed its doors and does no longer accept new asylum applications. Hundreds of asylum-seekers living in the area of Athens are thereby denied access to the asylum procedure and are at risk of being arrested and expelled any moment. While queuing up outside the Aliens' Department at Petrou Ralli Street in Athens seeking in vain the protection of the Greek State, they risk being arrested on grounds of unlawful residence.

This practice is part of the Greek Government's general policy towards asylum-seekers, refugees and persons who are entitled to international protection: arrests and expulsions of asylum-seekers, no access to the asylum procedure, unfair procedures when assessing asylum claims, zero percent of success of recognition of refugee status, total lack of social welfare, police brutality- a policy that leads to suppression and denial of their rights.