Dienstag, 19. Mai 2009

Greece: Proposed changes to asylum procedures flagrantly violate international law


15 May 2009
AI Index: EUR 25/005/2009

Greece: Proposed changes to asylum procedures flagrantly violate
international law

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about a proposed Greek
Presidential Decree that would introduce extensive amendments to
Presidential Decree 90/2008, which incorporates into Greek law the
provisions of the EU Procedures Directive. This Directive regulates the
minimum standards for asylum procedures across the EU.
The proposed decree would abolish the second stage of asylum
procedures in Greece, leaving asylum-seekers with no recourse to a
substantial appeal. If the changes are adopted, asylum-seekers whose
applications have been rejected at the first stage would only have
access to a review by the Council of State, which does not cover the
substance of the request, but only examines procedural aspects.
Amnesty International believes that the proposed changes, if
implemented, would deprive asylum-seekers of their right to an
effective remedy, which is guaranteed under Article 13 of the European
Convention on Human Rights and Article 39 of the EU Procedures
Directive. The lack of an effective remedy to negative asylum
decisions would lead to violations of Greece’s obligations not to return
anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights
violations under the UN Refugee Convention and other international human
rights treaties.
Amnesty International have said that incorrect decisions on asylum
applications would effectively be left unchallenged and people at risk
of persecution in other countries may have their asylum claims
rejected and returned to countries where they face serious human rights
abuses. If these changes are introduced, it would cast severe doubts
over Greece’s commitment to human rights.
Further, Amnesty International believes that there will continue to be
serious concerns regarding the fairness of the first stage of asylum
procedures. Under the proposed changes asylum decisions will be taken by
local police directors instead of national level. Amnesty
International has repeatedly pointed out that the examination of asylum
applications by police officers, who also undertake immigration control
tasks, undermines the fairness of the asylum procedure
Public Document