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Refugee rights

Greece’s legal system on asylum is based on the Geneva Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol, and on European Union (EU) legislation on the Common European Asylum System.  In 2011, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU found that Greece’s asylum system suffers from “systemic deficiencies,” including lack of reception centers, poor detention conditions, and the lack of an effective remedy.  Greece adopted two action plans and legislation to address the problems.  Significant gaps still remain, as exposed by the extraordinary migrant crisis of 2015 and as noted by the European Commission, which monitors closely Greece’s compliance with EU asylum standards.

Greece has experienced the brunt of migratory flows during the refugee crisis due to its geographical location and as first country of entry pursuant to the Dublin Regulation.  The crisis has also jeopardized the functioning of Schengen, a free area of movement and travel, as some EU countries have re-imposed border controls.  Other Schengen Member States are considering reintroducing border controls if Greece fails to control the current migratory flow.  Two relocation plans to transfer 66,000 refugees from Greece to other EU Member States are slowly being implemented.  The European Commission has recommended a number of remedial measures for Greece, including efficient border management and implementation of the “hotspot” areas for the proper registration and fingerprinting of migrants.

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