Human Rights Agencies Criticize Draft Bill on Migration

October 24, 2019

The National Commission for Human Rights, the UN High Commission for Refugees and Amnesty International expressed concern over the new draft bill on migration, criticizing the government for not introducing adequate protections of migrants’ rights and for its fast-track processing.

The draft bill is currently at the parliament committees.

Proposed changes “will weaken the protection of refugees in Greece,” the UN Commission for Refugees said, while it also criticized the “extremely demanding procedures that a person applying for asylum cannot be expected to follow.” It pointed out that the draft bill “focuses on punitive measures” and its regulations will burden the administration that is already overloaded by work.

Initially welcoming “the legislative effort to codify the legislation for international protection,” the National Commission for Human Rights said the draft was not forwarded by the relevant ministry in order to comment on it as an independent consulting agency. It expressed concern over “the introduction of new restrictions on those applying for international protection,” the additional burden to processing agencies, and over what it said was the possibility of discouraging individuals from applying for asylum, among other issues.

Proposing as the bill does that members of the police or Greek army are allowed to conduct interviews of migrants “is of deep concern,” Amnesty International said, calling on the government to revoke the specific regulation. The abolition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a category of vulnerability, the certification of individuals as victims of torture issued by public health entities instead of NGOs, and restrictions of access to work, health and education were also of great concern, it said. The bill “downgrades the protection and rights of refugees and violates European and international legislative norms,” it noted.


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