Evidence jointly presented by I Have Rights and the Human Rights Legal Project has been included in the latest GREVIO (Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) report on Greece. Our submission These testimonies included extremely alarming experiences of violence against women including:
- Violations of women’s rights under Article 3 ECHR during pushbacks which included body searches of women. IHR’s beneficiaries have reported anal and vaginal checks having been conducted on all women in the arrival group; the same pair of gloves was reportedly used to check every person. In some cases, the threat of lethal force was used to effect the search.
- The inadequate measures to help victims of human trafficking. IHR submitted our documentation showing that during the ‘police interview’ held by Frontex people are not asked whether they were trafficked. This question is not asked during the ‘registration interview’ either. During the ‘substantive asylum interview’ women often refer to their trafficking experience but are rarely asked follow-up questions by the caseworker.
- The conditions of detention of women in the Samos CCAC in the quarantine zones (now called Temporary Accommodation Zones), which they often have to share with men due to overcrowding and is in violation of multiple safeguards enshrined in European law.
- The lack of possibilities that migrant victims of gender-based violence realistically have of raising their complaints with the competent domestic authorities.
The report calls these testimonies what they are: “Disturbing allegations of violent pushbacks of asylum-seeking women and girls” at Greece’s borders, which included violence against pregnant women. Our joint contribution brought to GREVIO’s attention allegations of violations by the Hellenic Police and Coast Guards of women and girls’ dignity and physical integrity, which could amount to sexual and gender-based violence. This helped shed light on how the designation of Turkey as a “safe third country” has negative consequences for these women.
We are also glad to see that the issues we submitted have been included in GREVIO list of priority issues. They have urged for:
- Authorities to uphold their obligation to respect the principle of non-refoulement of victims of violence against women and to take resolute measures to prevent acts of gender-based violence against women and girls seeking international protection in Greece.
- Authorities to make sure that asylum-seeking women and girls receive the best possible support during the asylum procedure, in particular by ensuring that existing gender-sensitive procedural guarantees are effectively applied, and that asylum-seeking women and girls have access to quality interpretation and legal aid.