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Refugees exposed to homelessness in Greece

A new law adopted in March 2020 shortens the period for recognized refugees from six months to 30 days to make a transition from organized accommodation and basic support to an independent living. In practice, the new regulation put at risk of poverty and homelessness thousands of people,  pushed refugees again on the edge of uncertainties and fear about their lives. 

The problem reviled in June, as UNHCR warned about government-arranged exit of  9,000 recognized refugees from Greece’s reception system which began on 1 June 2020. According to the authorities, such a decision was a necessity to alleviate pressure among residents of overcrowded camps  on the Greek islands. 

the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Oxfam criticised the national asylum law as violating the right to asylum and “designed to deport people rather than offer them safety and protection”. Oxfam press release states: “ the reformed law effectively bars many people who do not have legal support from appealing an asylum rejection. Deadlines have been shortened drastically and, in many cases, expire before people are informed of the decision. People seeking asylum are only able to submit an actual appeal through a lawyer – but in Lesbos, there is only one state-sponsored lawyer”. 

Reformed Greek asylum law  entered into force on 1 January 2020 was later amended in May. 

Greece’s new asylum system designed to deport, not protect, warn the Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam, [01.07.2020]. 
Greece must ensure safety net and integration opportunities for refugees – UNHCR,[02.06.2020].