The lived Reality of Deterrence Measures - New Report on the Situation in the EU Hotspot Vial
35.000 people are currently staying in the EU hotspots in Greece, the total capacity of which amounts to approximately 7500 places. Severe overcrowding, a lack of shelter, a lack of medical treatment despite widespread physical and mental issues including an increased rate of suicide attempts, an extremely high risk of sexual violence, a lack of access to education for minors – to mention but a few issues.
Nothing of this is new. And yet, nothing has changed. While media attention seems to have moved on, the human suffering in the camps at Europe’s external borders continues.
In fact, it is now the fourth winter in which persons in search of international protection are forced to live in refugee camps at the EU external border. Families, small children, elderly people, unaccompanied minors, severely sick persons – all are exposed to the dire conditions in those camps.
The head of the EU agency for fundamental rights has noted recently that the EU hotspots are “the single most worrying fundamental rights issue that we are confronting anywhere in the European Union.” The past four years have clearly shown that the implementation of the EU hotspot approach entails fundamental rights challenges that appear almost unsurmountable, as concluded by the EU agency for fundamental rights.
Our new report explains the political and legal context of the EU Hotspot Approach and the EU-Turkey Deal. It assesses the asylum procedures as well as the reception conditions in the EU Hotspot Vial in Chios, where we offer legal support to asylum seekers. The report takes into account the developments over the course of one year, and clearly confirms that the most basic legal standards are still not met.
We conclude that human rights and the rule of law dictate a fundamental shift in Europe’s asylum policy.