AI - The Dublin II Trap: Transfers of Asylum-Seekers to Greece

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 Amnesty International report published on March 2010; The Dublin II Trap: Transfers of Asylum-Seekers to Greece. You can read the introduction section below.


To read the full report please click.




INTRODUCTION


Amnesty International is concerned that state parties to the European Union (EU) Dublin Regulation continue or have resumed the return of asylum-seekers under this Regulation[1] to Greece despite continuing serious concerns with regard to the treatment of asylum-seekers,
refugees and migrants in Greece. The Dublin Regulation is an EU law for determining which member state is responsible for deciding an asylum application lodged within the EU[2], and usually requires that asylum-seekers be returned to the first country they entered upon
arriving in the EU. Individuals transferred under the Dublin II system[3] face a myriad of risks to their human rights in Greece, including most seriously a risk of refoulement through failures in the asylum system at both procedural and substantive levels. As this report will highlight, these failings are: difficulties in accessing the asylum system and registering a claim; unfair examinations of asylum claims; a lack of procedural safeguards as required by international law to ensure the correct identification of those in need of international protection, and to prevent violation of the principle of non-refoulement[4]. These procedural failings include the abolition of a substantive appeal, and a lack of legal counselling, interpretation and information about the asylum procedure. On top of these systemic failings, expulsions to Turkey, including of asylum-seekers, are creating further risks of indirect or chain refoulement[5]. In addition, the vast majority of asylum-seekers transferred under the Dublin Regulation are automatically detained in inadequate conditions at the airport upon their arrival in Greece. Elsewhere in the country reception conditions fall far short of requisite standards, and economic and social rights are not met. In view of these findings, Amnesty International must repeat its call to state parties to the Dublin Regulation to immediately suspend all transfers to Greece under the Regulation until such time as reforms are implemented ensuring that requisite levels of human rights protection are met for refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece.


During 2007/8, in response to growing concern about the dire asylum conditions in Greece expressed by, among others, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a
number of European countries took steps to suspend or reduce Dublin II transfers to Greece.


  1. Also known as the Dublin II Regulation, previously the Dublin Convention. Council Regulation No. 343/2003 of 18 February 2003.
  2. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are additionally parties to the Dublin Regulation.
  3. The Dublin System is comprised of the Dublin Regulation and the EURODAC Regulation, which establishes a Europe-wide fingerprinting database for unauthorized entrants to the EU. Council Regulation No. 2725/2000 of 11 December 2000.
  4. The principle of non-refoulement is the cornerstone of international refugee protection, and obliges states not to return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations.
  5. Indirect, or chain, refoulement can occur where there is no legal guarantee of refugee protection in the state the returned person would be sent to. It can also occur where, in practice, the asylum procedures of the state in question do not meet accepted standards with full procedural safeguards necessary to ensure correct decision-making, or if the state is known to be making incorrect decisions.



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