To the University of Baltimore, Centre for International and Comparative Law
I refer to your policy paper entitled ‘The Use of Detention for Asylum Seekers and Migrants in Europe and Greece’ (https://fotinirantsiou.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/b1c76-detentionpoliciesineuropefinal.pdf) and would like to make some comments in what refers to Greece. I expect your response and corrections on the paper. I am sure you will agree that mistakes in specific areas of the paper put the credibility of the whole paper in question. Furthermore, it calls on question the professionalism of the NGO behind this paper, which is purported to provide legal assistance to asylum seekers in Greece.
Page 7: The departure point is EU-Turkey deal (link doesn’t exist, but the title of the referred document suggests). In fact the centres mentioned (Amygdaleza, Paranesti) were beyond capacity with detainees up to early 2015 when policy changed for first time. The paper ignores fact that those detained in these centres are not eligible for relocation (page 8).
Page 34: The fence mentioned was built along the Greece-Turkey border at Evros and completed before the current migrant flows and certainly before the move of the flows from the land border to the islands (2012) and the EU-Turkey deal (2016), which is the focus of this paper. Mentioning it here only serves to present a false impression about what the ‘rhetoric’ and political action in Greece is at the moment.
Page 34: Returns to Greece under Dublin II have been suspended since 2011, as a result of a well-know decision of the European Court of Justice on the inadequate conditions of reception in Greece.
Pages 38-39: The ECRE document referred to is from April 2016 (footnote 133), immediately after the EU-Turkey deal, when indeed asylum seekers were detained. Since then, the situation has changed and varies from island to island. Secondly, saying that ‘The EU must intervene in ensuring Greece does not violate the Directive and that it does not arbitrarily relocate applicants to Turkey…’ indicates that Turkey accepts anyone Greece may want to deport. In fact Turkey does its own vetting, through officials deployed on the Greek islands, and has in the past refused returns.
Thank you for your attention.