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ASGI organized in March a brief inspection to Greece by a group of legal experts. Following this first trip, a network was set up between legal professionals in Italy and in Greece and has been published (in Italian and English) a first document with information concerning the status of asylum seekers in Greece, with a factual description and a brief juridical comment.
Meanwhile, ASGI has structured its network with Greek, Italian and European legal experts with a number of operators who continue to carry out inspections in Greece.
In addition, there were in-depth analysis about legal issues relating to the legitimacy of the EU-Turkey deal of 18th March 2016, and the consequences that will gradually invest the basis of the right of asylum in Europe.
At the same time, it was promoted a specific workshop with UNHCR (with the presence of the Greek representative) to clarify certain aspects of the Greek legislation and the effective role played by this Agency.
A document was written containing the main legal questions and it has been sent to some legal professionals who continue to go to Greece and to have contacts with Greek lawyers.
Moreover, ASGI has been heard in the hearing by the Special Commission for Human Rights of the Senate of the Italian Republic.
The inspection of the 15/19 June 2016 organized by ASGI with the support of MSF wants to examine in depth the following aspects:
1) the exact content of the new Greek legislation on the fast-track procedures for the assessment of the eligibility of asylum applications for asylum seekers passing through Turkey, the application practices of that legislation, the role played by UNHCR and the interaction with Turkey considered a “safe third country” and/or a “country of first asylum” (according to the references provided by articles. 33, 35, 38 of the Qualification Directive of European Union);
2) The analysis of the new EU-Turkey deal on the repatriation of “economic migrants”: agreement of 2014 with the initial estimate of entry into force in October 2017 and whose operation has been moved up to 1 June 2016. Legal analysis and observation of the implementing practices, particularly with regard to interactions with the “Hotspot system” and therefore to the real possibility for foreign citizens to apply for international protection, with the exclusion of the implementation of the same agreement (reserved only for “economic migrants”) and the effective role of UNHCR and the respect of the prohibition of collective expulsions (as established by the European Court of Human Rights);
3) It is also essential to strengthen the network with Greek and European legal professionals.
1. The drafting of a document - that will be published and periodically updated - on the legal status of asylum seekers in Greece, on the implications and prospects of new situation in Greece following the entry into force of the new law (wanted by EU with the agreement of 18th March 2016) and of the EU-Turkey deal on repatriation of “economic migrants” (cornerstone of the new European policy).
2. Development of a technical document on the legal aspects of illegitimacy of the EU-Turkey deal of 18th March 2016, of the new Greek law of April 2016 (and its practical application) of the Turkey and of the EU_Turkey deal on repatriation of economic migrants who will enter into force on 1st June 2016 (and its practical application).
3. A document on the possible application scenarios of a similar policy on the Italian territory considering the inevitable bigger involvement of the Italian border and the political messages provided by the Italian government in recent weeks. Analysis of legal criticalities, illegalities and possible legal instruments we could use (appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, preparation of preliminary questions to the Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court, etc.).
4. Targeted advocacy actions to urge the Italian parliament (directly affected by some illegalities of the European policy), the Italian government (which will play a vital role, especially in the probable negotiation on the identification of new so-called “safe countries” of the Mediterranean area), UNHCR (whose actions could be really important for the decisions of the EU institutions) and the Italian civil society.
5. Strategic litigation: check whether or not Greek lawyers are acting on the ECHR and possibly if they need our support (or support from ECRE). If not, collect cases for possible actions to the ECHR on: inhuman treatments inside the camps, detention for identification purposes without jurisdictional review, violation of the right to an effective remedy for accelerated rejection procedures, violation of the right to express the will to apply for international protection.
From 20 to 30 people will go to Greece including at least six legal experts who are taking part in all the preparatory actions described above. The other members (from the Roman School of specialization on asylum) have a multidisciplinary preparation with sufficient legal bases to be able to gather the necessary information.
The group will be divided into at least three different locations in order to maximize results and the members will remain in contact each other and will share all the information collected. The exact places where to go will be decided after 1st June 2016 according to the actions of the Greek government.
Rome, 15th May 2016
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