The Government has confirmed that removals to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation have been suspended pending the outcome of the test case. This comes following a number of recent news items on the calamity that is the Greek asylum ‘system’. Or, in the words of UNHCR themselves, ‘humanitarian crisis’. This extract from a recent Human Rights Watch report gives a flavour of the problem:
The country has one of the lowest rates of granting refugee status for asylum seekers in Europe. In 2009, it granted refugee status to a mere 0.04 percent of applicants at first instance – 11 people out of almost 30,000 applicants. It also abolished the appeals mechanism in July 2009, leaving rejected asylum seekers with no way to challenge a negative decision, and leading UNHCR to suspend its formal role in the asylum procedure.
Filing an asylum application is very difficult, and interviews are typically conducted in a cursory manner, often without a qualified interpreter and by untrained police officials. In addition, the country provides almost no accommodations or other assistance for asylum seekers, with most in destitution and living in the streets.