Immigration minister notis mitarachi. Image: vasilis asvestopoulos
Greece is serious: refugees have no rights if they enter the country from turkey. Maximum deterrence policy is being strengthened
Refugees from syria, afghanistan, pakistan, bangladesh and somalia have no rights in greece if they enter the country from turkey. Immigration minister notis mitarachi affirmed this in a radio interview on tuesday with broadcaster real news.
The minister used an example of 25 people who fled to greece from afghanistan to explain that their asylum applications were rejected as unfounded within a few days. In the blog of journalist rory o’keeffe there is another report since thursday, this time about nineteen refugees from afghanistan. In less than three days after their arrival in greece they received their negative decision. There is no case-by-case assessment as foreseen in international refugee conventions.
The designation of turkey as a safe third country was based on a joint ministerial decision taken by the greek cabinet on 7. June.
When asked by journalists whether the resulting immediate rejection of asylum applications led to deportation to turkey, mitarachi replied that since march 2020 turkey no longer accepts returns from greece. He overlooks the fact that the possibility of repatriation is a necessary condition for the classification as a safe third country according to the european legal norms.
However, according to the minister, this rejection also means that greece has no obligation to provide medical care and accommodation for the refugees. The refugees were therefore offered voluntary return to their home countries. Specifically, the new policy is designed to literally scare away the refugees who are destitute and trapped without provisions in greece.
Philosophy of maximum deterrence
Mitarachi boasts that under his administration the number of refugees in greece has fallen dramatically, while in italy, for example, many refugees are still arriving. In a speech at the london school of economics on tuesday, he also suggested that frontex should deter refugees from entering the eu even outside the eu borders.
The minister called for all eu countries to participate in protecting the eu’s borders. "Greece offers asylum to asylum seekers, but will not allow it to become europe’s gateway to smuggling networks", the government’s motto is.
According to its philosophy of maximum deterrence, the existing camps for asylum seekers are built with concrete walls. This will cost around thirty million. The new closed camps on the islands, demanded with eu money, are expected to cost around 177 million euros. However, there are already problems with the public invitation to tender. The tender is formulated in such a way that only three rough greek contractors can participate in it. Competitors are trying to enforce their rights with objections and lawsuits.
Mitarachi, however, defends the camps as an investment. On his home island of chios, the new hotspot is planned to be built in such a way that it can later be used as a detention center.
On 18. On june 13, the ministry of immigration presented a legislative initiative to make it even easier for the government to expel rejected asylum seekers or asylum-seekers from camps and put them on the streets. The living conditions in the camps are further aggravated.
In addition, the state is taking action against people who help refugees in any way. This had to be done on 13. June the dutch journalist ingeborg beugel experienced. She was arrested on the island of hydra for offering shelter to an afghan who was appealing against an asylum application that had been rejected in the first instance. Beugel, who also supported the afghan financially in his legal battle and with regard to language training, faces a year in prison and a fine. Her support was not secret, she had already indicated in court in january that she supported the afghan.
Little headwind expected from eu for mitarachi’s actions. Eu commissioner ylva johansson had expressed surprise that greece also wanted to use sound cannons to repel refugees, but at the same time praised the fact that the number of refugees in greece had dropped from 42.000 arrivals to the greek islands, to less than 10,000 now.000 had fallen.