The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared Thursday that Greece violated the liberty and security of five unaccompanied refugee minors who entered the country in 2016.
The five minors are Afghans between 14 and 17 years old who claim they fled their country because they feared for their lives as members of the Ismaili religious minority.
Greek police had arrested the teens in February 2016 and ordered them to leave the country within a month.
Some of the teens had tried to cross the border of Greece and North Macedonia but were stopped by border patrol. They were placed in “protective custody” at police stations thereafter.
The Afghan minors applied for asylum in March 2016 and two of them were granted protection in October 2016 and January 2017.
The European Court found that, in various police stations, three of the teens were subjected to degrading treatment. Such treatment violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court also found that the Greek government did not explain why police had placed the three teens in police stations rather than in a temporary accommodation facility. The court added that their detention was therefore unlawful and in violation of Articles 5 and 1 of the Convention.
Greece must pay €4,000 to one of the minors, €6,000 to each of the other four for non-pecuniary damage, and another €1,500 to all five for costs and expenses.
See the full court report here
Approximately 3,700 unaccompanied refugee children are currently in Greece.
METAdrasi, a Greek nongovernmental organization, has been a leading force in providing services for such children.
Founded in 2010, METAdrasi aims to facilitate the reception and integration of refugees, migrants and unaccompanied children in Greece. The organization fills gaps in areas not covered, or covered only to a limited extent, by public authorities or other NGOs.
The organization has escorted approximately 11,000 children during 4,000 escorting missions. According to the latest statistics, 40% of the missions concern escorting children from the islands to the mainland. 41% of the escorted children come from detention centers, 36% from hotspots in the islands and 8% from homelessness.
Featured image / International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
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