12 February 2016
The Greek Government intends to introduce a new detention regime in the ‘hotspots’ as part of legislative reforms of the country’s first reception framework. The Greek Parliament aims to fast-track the adoption of the law before the end of this month.
Under the new framework, people entering a ‘Reception and Identification Centre’, such as those to be established on the Eastern Aegean islands, will be subject to freedom of movement restrictions within the premises of the centre for an initial period of 3 days. This restriction is applied as a general rule, without a prior individualised assessment. If the reception and identification procedure (which includes medical and nationality screening, information on and referral to asylum authorities or return procedures) has not been completed within three days, there is a possibility of prolonging the restriction on free movement for a further 25 days in order to complete the procedure. Only the decision to prolong the freedom of movement restriction can be appealed.
The draft law also provides that asylum seekers may reside outside Reception and Identification Centres, but are not provided with a document certifying their applicant status unless the asylum procedure has not been completed within 25 days. Risks of arbitrary detention are likely to arise if asylum seekers reside outside the Centre during their asylum procedure, who may not have documentation proving that they are going through the asylum procedure.
Moreover, EASO and FRONTEX will be able to observe or participate in reception and identification procedures, while UNHCR and IOM may participate and offer information. While its role has not been specified in the law, the scope for EASO to participate in reception and identification procedures seems ambiguous, as the only aspect of these procedures relevant to EASO is the referral of newly arrived migrants to initiate an asylum procedure.
For further information:
- Greek Parliament, Draft Law Amending Law 3907/2011 and Law 4251/2014, 5 February 2016
- Asylum Information Database (AIDA), Country report: Greece, November 2015