Greece should improve migrant detention, UN group says

A group of United Nations independent experts on Thursday said that Greece should improve detention conditions for migrants. The experts also reported that the country should implement recent legislation in view of enhancing screening procedures for asylum-seekers.

“In most detention facilities visited by the Working Group, the conditions fall far below international rights standards, including in terms of severe overcrowding,” noted Vladimir Tochilovsky, a member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in statement released by the United Nations.

According to the international organization, the group’s members found pre-trial and convicted prisoners in the same cell, for instance, while undocumented migrants were mixed with criminal detainees, in violation of national and international standards.

The group, which visited detention centers in Athens, Alexandroupoli, Orestiada, Komotini, Soufli, Thessaloniki and the island of Samos, found that few of the detainees were aware of their right to legal assistance.

During their visit to Greece, members of the group also met with local authorities as well civil society and international organizations.

At the same time, the group hailed the government's decision to develop a new asylum service department to establish the first reception service in charge of screening procedures.