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Lack of interpretation services lengthens existing delays to access asylum and leaves people without protection

Athens, 29/05/2024

On 14th May the main provider of interpreters to the Greek asylum service, Metadrasi, announced the suspension of its services in both Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) and the Asylum Service. This is due to months of delay in payment by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum (MoMA).

As a result of this disruption, people applying for international protection in Greece are forced to wait even longer for their claims to be processed and appeals and subsequent applications have been halted. This leaves many people in a legal limbo without access to protection and vital services.

Following the withdrawal of interpretation services, people residing in camps are unable to communicate with the authorities in any way.

The signatories of the statement call on the Ministry to take action to ensure the continuous and unimpeded provision of interpretation services during reception and identification procedures and throughout the whole processing of asylum claims by:

  • Immediately renewing contracts and disburse funds to the provider of interpretation services and ensure there are no delays which could affect the provision of interpretation in the future

  • Immediately releasing a statement explaining why it is currently not possible to complete the registration of asylum claims, to lodge subsequent applications or to file an appeal and adequately informing people of their rights during the waiting period, and when they can expect these procedures to be functional again, in a language they can understand

  • Reinstating all asylum processes as soon as possible which continue to be unavailable, particularly the registration of asylum applications and the lodging of subsequent applications and first instance appeals

  • Issuing interim documents to people waiting to register their asylum claim or people having received a first rejection, which will allow them to fully exercise their rights in Greece, including the right to work, to access healthcare, reception services and cash assistance

  • Taking immediate action to reduce the backlog which was exacerbated by the suspension and ensure that delays in issuing and renewing documents are reduced

  • Ensuring that all people impacted by any future disruptions of asylum procedures have access to temporary documentation protecting them from police checks and arbitrary detention

  • Ensuring that people impacted by any future lack of interpretation services or any other issues impacting the operations of asylum authorities are adequately informed of the impact on their access to the asylum procedure and other fundamental rights.


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