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UNHCR expresses reservations on the operation of new detention centres for irregular migrants

unhcrATHENS, 1 May 2012 – A UNHCR delegation visited this morning the new detention centre for migrants in Amydaleza (northwest of Athens), in the framework of regular visits to facilities used for the administrative detention of migrants throughout Greece. At the time of the visit, there were 56 persons detained in one cluster of containers that was operational.

Although the delegation found that material detention conditions are better in comparison with other migrant detention facilities in the country, UNHCR would like to express reservations as to the operation and effectiveness of the recently announced detention centres.

What remains critical for UNHCR is the procedure, criteria and conditions of police operations leading to mass arrests of undocumented aliens, with a view to transfer them to Amygdaleza detention centre, as well as to other centres that are to be created in the future. This concern is aggravated by the fact that access to the asylum procedure at the Attica Aliens Directorate (Petrou Ralli), as well as at other police directorates around the country, remains today significantly limited. Therefore, among those arrested with a view to be removed from the country, there may be persons in need of international protection, who, nevertheless, were unable to submit their asylum claim.

According to the current legislation, administrative detention of undocumented aliens is allowed only for a limited period of time and only ahead of their removal from the country. In case their removal is not possible (due to legal or practical reasons), the effectiveness of the detention measure is doubtful.

For further information:

Website: www.unhcr.org (English), www.unhcr.gr (Greek)

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