The landmark 2011 M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece ruling by the European Court of Human Rights found that the Greek Government violated Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment, due to conditions in Greek detention facilities, the living conditions of asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors, and the lack of an effective remedy against expulsion due to deficiencies in the asylum procedure. Due to the systemic deficiencies found in these areas the ruling concluded that transfers of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin Regulation therefore amounted to refoulement. As a result, removals of asylum seekers back to Greece were suspended. Despite twelve years passing, Greece has yet to fully implement the judgment.
In their submission, Mobile Info Team and I Have Rights assess the extent of Greece’s compliance with the landmark judgment, twelve years after M.S.S. With regard to the current state of the asylum system in Greece they conclude that, despite M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece pending implementation for 12 years, serious problems persist affecting a large number of vulnerable people. The organisations therefore recommend that:
- The Committee examines the cases on an annual basis.
- The Committee should request Greece to repeal Article 40(a) of the Asylum Code and end the regime of de facto detention in CCACs and RICs.
- The Committee should urge Greece to ensure that vulnerability assessments are carried out prior to applicants for international protection having their personal interview.
- The Committee should request Greece to report on the measures taken, or the measures that will be taken to urgently improve access to health care, interpretation services and the unsanitary conditions in PRDCs.