The ICJ, European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) welcome the decision of the European Committee on Social Rights that Greece should take “immediate measures” to protect the rights of migrant children as required under the European Social Charter.
The Greek government should now take urgent steps to comply with the Committee’s decision, to prevent serious and irreparable injury or harm to the children concerned, including damage to their physical and mental health, and to their safety.
The Committee’s decision, issued on 23 May, requires the government to immediately provide migrant children with appropriate shelter, food, water, education and medical care; to remove unaccompanied migrant children from detention and from Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) at the borders, place them in suitable accommodation for their age and appoint effective guardians.
The Committee noted that “immediate measures” were exceptional, but found that they were necessary in this case given the government’s failure to dispel serious concerns about the gravity and urgency of the situation of migrant children in Greece.
This decision is in response to a collective complaint brought before the Committee by ICJ, ECRE and GCR, alleging systemic violations of migrant children’s rights on mainland Greece and the North Eastern Aegean islands. The complaint catalogues the numerous ways in which Greece has failed to fulfill its obligations under the European Social Charter to protect the rights migrant children, leaving them in conditions of squalor, insecurity and violence.
In addition to indicating immediate measures, the Committee found the complaint itself admissible. The complaint now awaits examination and determination on the merits by the European Committee on Social Rights.