On the 12th of November, the Greek Forum of Refugees attended the 9th Consultative Forum of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) that took place in Brussels.
This Forum was one of the most crucial ones, especially for the Greek part, given the fact that the new Asylum Law has already been voted by the Greek Parliament which affects the asylum seekers’ lives. Mr Yonous Muhammadi, President of the Board of Directors at the Greek Forum of Refugees, seized the opportunity to express refugees and migrants’ communities’ concerns.
First of all, he raised the issue of identifying asylum seekers and newcomers as having refugee profile or not based on nationality and country of origin. He specifically stressed out the issue of stateless people and vulnerable groups by mentioning that the new law is shrinking the criteria on vulnerability and there is always, the general problem on identifying and recognize the people affected by statelessness. He also, expressed high concerns on potential closed reception centers, which is unacceptable as it will have severe consequences on the affected people.
Regarding the question raised by the President of the Greek Forum of Refugees “Why after more than four (4) years we are still speaking on emergency measures for the refugees’ and migrants’ issues on Greece?”, the Head of Policy and Legal Support Unit of UNHCR in Geneva, Sophie Magennis responded that the Greek issue can be a good case study for all Europe in order to learn how to manage such crisis in the future.
In this year’s Forum several active factors took part such as European Institutions, representatives of Member State authorities, Academics, IGOs and NGOs. We were, particularly, glad to hear Michael O’ Flaherty, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), who gave the full picture of what is going on the ground.