The European Court of Human Rights has granted Interim Measures with regards to a mother and baby held in the Samos Closed Controlled Access Centre. The Court orders the Greek Authorities to accommodate the Applicants in safe and suitable accommodation.

Samos, 7 February 2024 – On 05/02/2024, in the case of H.T. and M.T. v. Greece (Application no. 2868/24) the European Court of Human Rights granted Interim Measures with regards to an asylum seeking woman and her infant child. The Applicants were confined to the Samos Closed Controlled Access Center (CCAC) in absolutely inadequate conditions. The Court ordered the Greek authorities to “urgently accommodate the applicants in a safe and suitable accommodation and to ensure that both applicants are provided with adequate food, water, clothing and medical care”. The Applicants are represented by I Have Rights.

The case concerns acutely vulnerable Applicants who are an asylum-seeking single mother and infant. For confidentiality reasons, no further detail on the vulnerabilities of the Applicants can be shared. Despite the Applicants’ severe vulnerabilities, they were automatically detained upon arrival to the CCAC in degrading conditions, without an assessment of their vulnerabilities. The mother and child were forced to share a bunk bed with an unrelated male and were humiliated by being forced to remain in the same clothes for weeks on end. They were also without access to medical treatment and relied on others to collect food on their behalf due to fears for their safety as the line for food was hours long with fights often breaking out. Additionally, the mental health of the woman rapidly deteriorated since arriving to the CCAC and there were concerns as to the health of the infant who had not been provided with a cot, toys, sufficient diapers or access to medical checkups.

As detailed by Ella Dodd, Legal Representative of the Applicants before the Court and Advocacy and Strategy Coordinator at I Have Rights:

The Samos CCAC cost the EU-taxpayer 43 million euros and is heralded as the EU and Greece’s new and improved approach to migration. Yet, the Applicants have been held in profoundly unsuitable conditions that are an affront to human dignity.

Almost 4,000 asylum seekers are held in the Samos CCAC, a number that far exceeds the nominal capacity of the facility, with around two thirds of the population being unlawfully de facto detained. All within the structure are accommodated in overcrowded and inhuman conditions including a lack of access to medical treatment, laundry facilities, hygiene products, consistent running water and sufficient food. In turn, this has resulted in an outbreak of preventable diseases and alarming infestations of bed bugs, scabies and fleas. The case demonstrates the severely deteriorating conditions in the CCACs on the hotspot islands of Greece and is further evidence that even the most severely vulnerable asylum seekers are failed within these facilities.

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Joanne Krus

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