New asylum-seekers free to travel from Greek islands, Greek top court rules

Author (Person)
Series Details April 2018
Publication Date 19/04/2018
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Background information:

On 18 April 2018 the Greek Council of State (Greece’s top administrative court) has ruled that asylum-seekers newly arriving on Greek islands from Turkey should no longer be held there while their applications are assessed.

In the ruling issued in response to an application filed by the Greek Council for Refugees, the Greek highest court annulled the Greek Asylum Service’s decision to impose geographical restrictions on asylum-seekers arriving on six Greek islands (Lesvos, Rhodes, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios).

Asylum-seekers have been prohibited from travelling beyond these Greek islands since March 2016, when the EU agreed a deal with Ankara to seal the sea route, offering cash to improve conditions for Syrians staying in non-EU member Turkey. The restriction on leaving the islands, imposed by Greece’s Asylum Service, has resulted in severely overcrowded camps and violent protests over delays in asylum decisions.

Related Links
EurActiv, 19.04.18: EU officials fear new wave of migrants after Greek court ruling
Reuters, 18.04.18: New asylum-seekers free to travel from Greek islands, court rules
EuObserver, 19.04.18: Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
Amnesty International, 18.04.18: Greece: court ruling on asylum-seekers kept on six Aegean islands welcomed
CyprusMail, 18.04.18: New asylum-seekers free to travel from Greek islands

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