JOINT STATEMENT: Implementation of the safe third country concept in Greece

Copyright Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

27 Civil Society Organizations, SolidarityNow among them, have sent a letter to EU Commissioner, Ylva Johnasson, asking for a lawful implementation of the notion of “safe third country.”

Through the joint letter the 27 NGOs wish to convey to the EU Commissioner our concerns regarding the systematic non-compliance by Greece with the Asylum Procedures Directive as regards the safe third country concept.

The Greek asylum authorities systematically apply the safe third country concept based on Joint Ministerial Decision 42799/2021 vis-à-vis applicants originating from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, leading to a large number of applicants having their claims dismissed as inadmissible and being ordered to return to Turkey, without any prospects of such a readmission.

The practice exposes applicants for international protection to a legal limbo whereby they are never granted access to an examination of their applications on their merits, contrary to the purpose of the Geneva Convention and of the Asylum Procedures Directive. It also leads to exclusion of people from reception conditions, resulting in inability to have access to dignified living standards and to cater for their basic subsistence needs, including health care and food.

Read the full letter here.