Two weeks ago the Greek government suspended the right to apply for asylum – clearly illegal and a breach of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Media reports have now revealed that Greece is holding hundreds of newly arrived people in a naval ship in the port of Lesvos and in secret camps in the east of the country. They are denied access to legal aid and to the UNHCR, and in many cases authorities took the cell phones. The Greek government wants to deport all of these people to Turkey – without asylum procedures. This practice is deeply inhuman and illegal. In addition to the right to access a fair asylum procedures, Article 31 of the Geneva Convention prohibits the imprisonment of refugees for illegally entering the country. The right to live in freedom and security, Art 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), is also violated. “Collective rejections”, as Greece plans and has already carried out in the past, are also prohibited under the ECHR, Protocol 4, Art. 4.
The fact that Greece completely broke with human, international and European law is now well known. The European Commission, the German federal government and the Government coalition not only tolerate these breaches of law, they even support Greece’s actions. The rights of refugees are no longer worth anything in the EU – Articles 1 to 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have apparently been abolished for refugees, as has the right to asylum.
This state of lawlessness must not be recognized as normal! Human rights must be universal, indivisible and inalienable, otherwise they are worth nothing. We must continue to defend human rights loudly!