Greece: lack of access to protection of migrant children (UN Statement)

The ICJ today raised concerns for the lack of access to protection of migrant children in Greece, in a statement to the United Nations.

The statement, scheduled for the discussion of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Greece, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, could not be delivered due to the limited time provided for NGO Statements.

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) congratulates Greece on the completion of its Third Cycle Universal Periodic Review.

The ICJ welcomes the acceptance by Greece of all recommendations related to detention and economic and social rights of migrant children (130.60, 130.70, 130.124, 130.134, 130.141, 130.149, 130.150, 130.152, 130.182, 130.208, 130.217, 130.229, 130.230, 130.235).

The ICJ commends Greece for abolishing detention of children under the protective custody, however it regrets, that despite the positive legislative changes, still no guardianship system is available and living conditions remain substandard for children, despite the fact that the number of refugees in Greece has decreased.

On 26 January 2021 the European Committee on Social Rights found that Greece was violating the rights of migrant children under a number of provisions of the European Social Charter.

Amongst the most blatant breach of obligation of migrant children’s rights identified by the Committee has been the systematic and ongoing absence of sufficient accommodation facilities and the lack of an effective guardianship system for unaccompanied children in Greece, exposing them to significant protection risks, including homelessness and placement in detention.

Greece should step up its efforts to ensure the rights of migrant children, are respected, protected and fulfilled.

The ICJ further regrets that Greece has so far declined to take steps towards the ratification of the Optional Protocols to the ICESCR and the CRC (130.2, 130.3), which could significantly improve the situation of migrant children in Greece, and we urge Greece to reconsider the ratification.

Thank you.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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