Greece + 4 more

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece (A/HRC/35/25/Add.2) [EN/AR]


Human Rights Council

Thirty-fifth session

6-23 June 2017

Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Note by the Secretariat

The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, on his follow-up visit to Greece from 12 to 16 May 2016.

The Special Rapporteur met with government representatives, civil society organizations, the National Commission for Human Rights and the Ombudsperson, as well as with migrants themselves, including in detention centres and informal camps.

The Special Rapporteur recognizes progress made on laws and policies directed at managing migration and at border management.

As Greece is the custodian of an external European Union border, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Greece and the European Union institutions develop durable human rights-based solutions for migrants and asylum seekers in Greece, including on the important issue of border management, and adopt strategic long-term migration and mobility policies in accordance with international human rights law.

I. Introduction

  1. From 12 to 16 May 2016, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants conducted an official follow-up visit to Greece, at the invitation of the Government. The mission was carried out in the context of follow-up to the Special Rapporteur’s year-long study on the management of the external borders of the European Union and its impact on the human rights of migrants (A/HRC/23/46), which included a mission to Greece (A/HRC/23/46/Add.4), and of his thematic report on European Union border management (A/HRC/29/36).

  2. In September 2014, the Human Rights Council, through presidential statement 27/3, requested the Special Rapporteur to pay particular attention to the protection of migrants at sea. Consequently, the present report is focused on external border control and does not provide a comprehensive overview of the broader human rights situation of all migrants in Greece. The visit gave the Special Rapporteur the opportunity to assess the progress made, as well as the obstacles and challenges that remain, in protecting and promoting the rights of migrants in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

  3. The Special Rapporteur visited Athens, Idomeni and Polykastro in Central Macedonia, as well as the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesvos. He met with State officials at the national and local levels, international organizations, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) officials, civil society organizations and migrants themselves. He also visited several places of detention and official and unofficial camps, namely Polykastro Police Station, the unofficial camp in Idomeni, the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre in Samos, the Elliniko Pre-Removal Centre for Migrant Women at Elliniko Police Station, the camp in the Olympic stadium of Elliniko, and the Moria Reception and Identification Centre in Lesvos.

  4. The Special Rapporteur expresses his sincere appreciation for the cooperation extended to him by the Government prior to, throughout and after the visit. He also thanks the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and civil society organizations for their valuable contributions.