Unaccompanied minors in Greece – dire living conditions and despair
“When I arrived to Chios from Turkey in May 2017, I was seventeen years old. I was placed into one of the containers in the last part of section B, container 38. […] I did not have any mattress beneath me, just one sleeping back for each of us, no cover or pillow. We did not have a heating in this container, there was air conditioning, but for all air conditioners in the container we had just one remote control and the remote control was with the police. So, when the police officers on shift were nice, we stayed in a warm place. When the police officers on shift were bad, and they mostly were, it was cold. So, in winter, most of the time it was cold.”
This is how Hassan (name amended) describes his time as unaccompanied minor in the EU Hotspot Vial. Just two weeks ago he has been transferred under the Dublin III family reunion procedure to Germany where he will join his older brother – after having waited for eighteen months in the EU Hotspot Vial on the Greek island of Chios. You find the full interview with Hassan here.
Equal Rights Beyond Borders is working on a report on the situation of unaccompanied minors in Greece for the Federal Association for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Germany (Bundesfachverband für Unbegleitete Minderjährige Flüchtlinge). The report will be published beginning of next year (publication in German). The report puts the situation of unaccompanied minor refugees in Greece in the broader context of crisis. It explains the effects of the implementation of the EU Hotspot Approach together with the EU Turkey Deal in the Eastern Aegean and depicts the situation on the Greek mainland. Both living conditions and asylum procedures are covered. The report breaks down the relevant Greek legislation concerning unaccompanied minor refugees in an easily accessible manner. At the same time, it shows the situation on the ground – which looks quite different regarding several aspects. Hassan is in Germany now. Hundreds of other unaccompanied minor refugees still stay in Vial, other EU Hotspot camps which are equally substandard, and in shelters and on the streets in the Greek mainland. The right to family reunion under the Dublin III Regulation is a possibility for at least some of them to join their families in other EU Member States.