Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

World Report 2009 - Greece

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 14 January 2009
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2009 - Greece, 14 January 2009, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Events of 2008

In April the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) leveled sharp criticism at Greek asylum and detention policies and recommended that other European states not return asylum seekers to Greece, a blow to EU rules that asylum claims should generally be heard in the first EU country entered, and that reception conditions and asylum procedures must meet common standards. UNHCR said that asylum seekers in Greece "often lack the most basic entitlements, such as interpreters and legal aid, to ensure that their claims receive adequate scrutiny from the asylum authorities." Greece recognized only 1.2 percent of asylum claims at first instance in 2007.

Greek police systematically arrest migrants on Greek territory, including a large proportion of Iraqis, detain them for days without providing legally required registration, and in some cases beat or otherwise ill-treat them. Migrants are regularly forcibly and secretly expelled to Turkey without consideration of their protection needs.

Around 1,000 unaccompanied children entered Greece in 2008, the majority from Afghanistan. There were numerous examples of such children being beaten and kicked by Greek coastguard, police, and port police officers upon interception at the border or during arrest and detention. Children are often detained together with adults. Most fail to seek asylum, lack status, and are at risk of deportation. Many live outside sponsored care and are exploited in dangerous working conditions. Unaccompanied girls in particular are at high-risk of falling into the hands of trafficking networks.

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