In our joint contribution to a consultation launched by the EU Ombudsman under an inquiry on how the Commission can ensure human rights compliance in new 260 million euro EU funded reception facilities on the Greek islands, I Have Rights (IHR) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) highlight that the Samos Closed Controlled Access Centre’s (CCAC) fails to comply with EU standards. 

The contribution draws on data from both organisations’ programmes on Samos and demonstrates how the Samos CCAC has consistently fallen short of the 12 guiding principles of the Fundamental Rights Agency for protection-sensitive and fundamental rights-compliant reception at the EU external borders and is in contradiction with with Directive 2013/33/EU and the 2020 EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion, with similar concerns being reported in the Mavrovouni CCAC in Lesvos. The contribution also focuses on the impacts on the rights of migrants as a result of their stays in the CCAC including their stymied access to legal and medical assistance and the detrimental effects the centre has on their physical and mental health. 

Our contribution alerts the EU Ombudsman to the following issues with the CCAC: 

  • The routine detention of migrants;
  • Allegations of police violence in the now closed quarantine-detention zones;
  • The CCAC’s prison-like structure with extensive security apparatus including barbed wire, 24/7 CCTV surveillance, presence of multiple police and private security forces and airport style checks;
  • The CCAC’s remote location, leaving people without access to services, basic necessities and prevented many from attending legal and medical appointments;
  • The lack of state-appointed doctor leaving people without access to primary medical support; 
  • The failure of the CCAC authorities to identify vulnerable asylum seekers; 
  • The lack of designated safe areas for single women, families and other vulnerable adults; 
  • The lack of support for unaccompanied minors including lack of clothing and support;
  • Recurring and significant infrastructure shortcomings that severely impact quality of life, wellbeing and dignity of residents including access to running water. 

Click here to read our joint contribution in full.