Reception of asylum seekers in Greece: the demand for humane conditions remains 

Athens, 9th of November 2023: The undersigned organizations are sounding the alarm on the ongoing malfunctioning of the country’s reception system that deprives asylum seekers and refugees of access to rights and services, in violation of EU and national legislation.

On the islands, the reception facilities (CCACs) remain in a state of overcrowding, mostly in Kos, where the new arrivals are subject to an informal detention regime until their registration, without access to a doctor following the departure of the medical staff at the end of October. The situation is similar in Samos, where a military doctor has occasionally provided to meet the needs of almost 4,000 residents.

The situation is even more precarious at the sea entry points that are not equipped with a CCAC. At these entry points, despite the steady flow of arrivals, there is no provision from the competent authorities of the State to cover even the most basic reception conditions. As a result, access for new arrivals to fundamental rights such as housing, food and health care, an obligation and responsibility of the central administration, is left to the discretion of local authorities and civil society. The island of Rhodes, which completely lacks in infrastructure and reception services and where almost 5, 000 people have arrived since the beginning of the year, is an illustrative example of the above. Violations of the human rights of new arrivals are also recorded on the island of Lesvos, where people are reportedly detained for more than a month upon arrival. In some cases, they are even denied access to health care and food while in detention.

In the mainland, the accommodation facilities have also overcome their full capacity, resulting in even extremely vulnerable asylum seekers (e.g. victims of torture, human trafficking, single-parent families, etc.) not having access to reception conditions. Concerning children, it is doubtful whether and to what extent child protection services are functioning. Asylum seekers with special medical needs, such as diabetics and cardiac patients, do not have access to adequate treatment and nutrition and/or are not identified in time, mothers cannot provide milk for their children, and families are looking for self-housing solutions. 

We note that:

The undersigned organizations: