Joint Letter to the Minister of Migration and Asylum
Subject: Upcoming Ministerial Decision
Dear Mr Mitarachi,
We understand that there is a Ministerial Decision currently being drafted by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum that aims to define categories of people who, after being granted recognised refugee status or subsidiary protection, would be allowed to stay in the Closed Controlled Access Centres (CCAC) for more than 30 days post official recognition.
We are increasingly concerned about people with recognised refugee status who are facing homelessness and who are at real risk of destitution after being forced to leave CCACs whilst waiting for their Greek residency ID card. Many of the affected individuals are often given the first appointment with the police to provide fingerprints to begin the process of getting an ID one month after being granted status and will receive the necessary document an additional month later.
The undersigned organisations urge the Asylum Service, the Reception and Identification Services and the Hellenic Police to ensure that people receive their documents, in particular their residency ID card, in a timely manner, namely within the 30-day period they are allowed to stay in the CCAC after receiving a positive decision on their status. In case of a delay, people with recognised status should be permitted to remain in the CCAC, if they so choose, until they receive their residency ID card. Being without post-recognition legal documents outside the CCAC forces individuals into precarious situations and hinders their integration into Greek society. They face challenges in secure work contracts or apartment leases, for example, leaving them vulnerable to homelessness, exploitation, destitution and other risks. This exacerbates the many existing obstacles recognized refugees face when trying to settle into Greek communities without adequate integration support.
For asylum seekers and recognised refugees considered as vulnerable as per Articles 39(5)(d) and 58(1) Law 4636/2019, CCACs are not an adequate accommodation where they can find the support they need. Rather than extending the stay of such people in CCACs, Greece must comply with its obligations to provide specific guarantees with regard to the treatment of vulnerable individuals.
Pending the implementation of such accommodation programmes, we welcome the upcoming Ministerial Decision that we hope will widen the scope for individuals to reside in the CCAC until they receive their residency ID card. We request the inclusion of ‘people at risk of homelessness, precarious living conditions and/or destitution because they do not yet have their residency ID card’ in the categories of people permitted to stay longer than 30 days in CCACs post recognition in the upcoming Ministerial Decision. This would ensure a temporary protection for people in vulnerable situations and relieve pressure on the local communities by avoiding an unfolding homelessness crisis in Greece until a more sustainable solution is found.
In this way, the undersigned organisations ask that the Ministry:
1. Ensure that vulnerable asylum seekers are accommodated in urban accommodation schemes, not in CCACs.
2. Take measures to ensure people receive their post-recognition documents, especially their Greek residency ID card, on time and in a quick manner so they can leave the CCACs and integrate into society.
3. As a matter of last resort, allow people to stay longer than 30 days post-recognition in CCACs when they do not yet have their Greek residency ID card. This can be achieved by including, ‘people at risk of homelessness, precarious living conditions and/or destitution because they do not yet have their residency ID card’ as a category of people in the upcoming Ministerial Decision.
I HAVE RIGHTS.
Human Rights Legal Project
Refugee Legal Support
Yoga and Sport With Refugees
Europe Must Act
Avocats Sans Frontières France