Σάββατο, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2011

ECtHR’s JUDGEMENT AGAINST GREECE AND BELGIUM HITS DIRECTLY AT THE EU REGULATION “DUBLIN II”


The Hellenic Action for Human Rights – “Pleiades” salutes the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the case MSS against Belgium and Greece, in which, inter alia, Mr. Hammarberg’s, UNHCR’s and GHM’s interventions took place, because we regard it as a milestone in the refugee issue in Europe.
This case’s sentence was the condemnation of both Greece and Belgium for the violation of articles 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
More precisely, Greece was condemned for having violated the article 3, due to the living conditions of the asylum seeker (an Afghan man) but also for having violated the same article again, this time taken together with article 13 of the ECHR, because of the deficiencies in the asylum procedure and the risk of deportation of the applicant to Afghanistan without a serious and thorough examination of his application and without him having access to an effective remedy.
In the meantime, Belgium was condemned for having violated Article 3 of the ECHR “because, by means of the expulsion of the asylum seeker to Greece, the Belgian Authorities exposed the applicant to risks linked to the deficiencies in the asylum procedure in that country” (i.e. Greece) and for another violation of Article 3 of the ECHR “because of having exposed the applicant to detention and living conditions in Greece, that were in breach of Article 3”. Moreover, Belgium was condemned for a violation of Article 13, in conjunction to Article 3 because of the lack of an effective remedy against the applicant’s expulsion order.

Given the news, it is only a matter of days before we see the countries that have ratified Dublin II Regulation suspend the transfer of asylum seekers to Greece. This Regulation is to take the blame for caging up 90% of the refugees to Europe in Greece.

The 117-page judgment (available here) strengthens the legal basis of the activism of the legal department of our NGO, which HAS BEEN CLAIMING THAT THINGS ARE EXACTLY AS THE ECtHR CONFIRMED AND HAS BROUGHT FORWARD THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OTHER E.U. MEMBER STATES. Actually, over the past two months, we have been visiting E.U. member states’ embassies with asylum seekers’ families (which live in conditions condemned by the present judgment) asking for these vulnerable and international-protection-deserving people (minors are always involved) to be transferred to the embassies’ countries.
We shall stress that the problem will not be solved by suspending the transfers of some (even thousands of) people to Greece, but by forwarding every new asylum seeker into other European countries, until the asylum procedure in Greece is reformed and some new sufficient reception structures are in place.

This milestone-judgment of the ECtCR (first ever condemnation of Greece for the detention/living conditions of the asylum seeker, whereas all previous condemnations were about the detention conditions) directly leads to the recognition of the fact that the living conditions of the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers – not only of those who have managed to apply but also of those who have not yet had access to the asylum procedure – is in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR. These people, whose human rights are (massively) violated on European ground, should be entitled to refuge to other European countries, where they would be safe. If the European institutions wanted to be sincere about the problem, instead of backing this humanitarian crisis, they should start procedures towards removing the definition of jurisdiction provided by the Dublin II Regulation. Last time the Commission tried to “bring the subject”, most Northern states blocked the reform.
Until then, the (European Asylum Support Office (E.A.S.O.) should be engaged in sending an expert action unit in Greece, to arrange so that more than 100.000 asylum seekers are resettled in other EU countries. Every new asylum seeker for the whole 2011 should be Intra-EU resettled, until the human rights of the asylum seekers in Greece are proved not to be violated.
On that matter, H.A.HU.R. has called for cooperation with other NGOs so as to create a committee which will address the relative plan to the Greek government. It is imperative that the latter recognizes the crisis loudly and calls for EU solidarity and burden sharing –and, this time, to become manifest in action, not theoretically.
The Hellenic Action for Human Rights has come up with a written call for activating the so called “citizens' legislative initiative” in the E.U., provided by the Lisbon Treaty, but not yet in force. This call for a change of the definition of the member countries’ jurisdiction regarding the examination of an asylum claim lodged in Europe, will be launched on the Internet in early February, having the “shape” of a proposed new Regulation.
For further information on the conditions of the refugees, the activism at the E.U. member countries’ embassies and the citizens’ legislative initiative, you can watch( here) the speech of the Athens lawyer Ms Electra-Leda Koutra, president of the Hellenic Action for Human Rights(also subtitled in English by pressing ‘cc’ button).
This speech is an open invitation to action, addressed to the European citizens, so that they be part of the solution, which they themselves will have proposed, and co-create their own world by making up for the governments’ inertia towards changing systemic problems.

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου