Migration and Struggle in Greece

German judges reject Greek refugee hearings as unfair

Posted by clandestina on 21 July 2009

German judges reject Greek refugee hearings as unfair


Jul 20, 2009, 15:28 GMT

Frankfurt – German judges have described the hearings granted to refugees in Greece as unfair, and ordered a review in Germany of a refugee’s claims to political asylum, court officials said Monday.

The ruling by the Frankfurt tribunal puts a cornerstone of European Union refugee law in doubt.

After a million refugees entered Germany in the 1990s, Berlin began pushing refugees back to the EU nation where they first landed.

Justice officials said an Iranian man who entered Germany in October 2007 had argued he was entitled to have his argument for political asylum heard by a German board because Greece could not give him a proper hearing.

The tribunal agreed at a recent session, saying Greek treatment of asylum claims did not meet the standards of EU law.

Judges said fundamental protective mechanisms were missing from Greek legal procedures and refugees did not have access to full medical care.

To enter the 27-nation European Union without papers, many refugees use lax border controls to enter Greece first, then travel via Italy to richer nations in northern Europe where they hope to settle.

German authorities wanted to send the man back to Greece, where he spent four days on his journey, because that was his first EU landfall.

The EU policy of pushing people back to the first landfall was established after annual arrivals in Germany of people requesting political asylum ran at 100,000 per year in the 1990s, peaking at nearly 440,000 in 1992.

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