Between 5th May and 7th June 2023, most of the operations of Greek asylum authorities under the umbrella of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum (MoMA) were halted due to an upgrade of the Asylum Service’s database, Alkyoni. During this period, no operations involving the Alkyoni system could be performed, including registration of asylum claims, renewal of asylum seeker cards, and issuance of residence permits, travel documents or other necessary documentation. As of today, it is still not possible to apply for appointments for first instance asylum claims or subsequent applications, while there has been no formal recognition by the authorities that these services continue to be unavailable.

The signatories of the statement call on the Ministry to take action to ensure fair and equal access to the asylum procedure in Greece as well as the continuation of rights for recognised refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection by:

  • Immediately releasing a statement explaining why it is currently not possible to apply for appointments to register asylum claims or make subsequent applications, and adequately informing people of their rights during the waiting period, and when they can expect these procedures to be functional again, in a language they can understand;

  • Reinstating as soon as possible all asylum processes which continue to be unavailable, particularly the online platform to book appointments for registering asylum applications and the lodging of subsequent applications;

  • Issuing interim temporary documents to beneficiaries of international protection who are still waiting to renew their residence permits, which carry the same rights as a resident permit and allow them to fully exercise their rights in Greece, including their rights to travel for a short period of time within the EU or to apply for visas;

  • Taking immediate action to reduce the backlog which was exacerbated by the shutdown and ensure that delays in issuing and renewing documents are reduced;

  • Ensuring that the Asylum Service has adequate staff and resources to carry out its work, including to deal with backlogs created by any future technical issues and system shutdowns, by providing translators and improving working conditions of staff through permanent contracts and modern IT systems;

  • Ensuring that all people impacted by any future system shutdowns or other technical problems always have access to temporary documentation protecting them from police checks and arbitrary detention;

  • Ensuring that people impacted by any future system shutdowns or any other issues impacting the operations of asylum authorities are adequately informed of the impact on their access to the asylum procedure and other fundamental rights.

Read the full statement

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