Thursday 16 June 2011
WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2011
The situation of refugees in Greece
ATHENS – To commemorate the UN Refugee Agency’s 60th Anniversary and World Refugee Day (20 June), the UNHCR Office in Greece organized today a Press Conference at the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESHEA).
The Head of the UNHCR Office in Greece, Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, presented the developments in relation to the refugee protection in Greece and made a series of recommendations. Specifically, he referred to:
- The progress achieved with regard to the quality of the asylum procedure but also to the problems that remain in relation to the access and registration of asylum claims, as well as the detention of asylum seekers.
- The serious pressures upon Greece due to the mass arrivals of refugees and migrants, the degrading detention conditions and the prerequisites for the successful operation of the centres of first reception that have been announced.
- The welfare policy for the most vulnerable groups of asylum seekers and for unaccompanied and separated children, stressing the serious inefficiencies as regards accommodation and social support.
- The recent and dangerous escalation of racist violence and the need to adopt social policy measures and upgrade the problematic districts of Athens.
The President of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Kostis Papaioannou, talked mainly about the issue of racist violence. He stressed the alarming proportions of the matter and the lack of response by the State. He highlighted the insufficient accountability and control mechanisms in cases where there are reports about police involvement in arbitrary and racially motivated actions. Finally, he referred to the NCHR proposals for the registration, investigation and penal prosecution of racist acts.
In addition, UNHCR referred to the situation of refugees worldwide and presented a Global Public Information and Awareness Campaign, conducted also in Greece, in the framework of World Refugee Day and the Organization’s 60th Anniversary.
The campaign features a number of media products including a video by UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, a new online video experience called “1 Life, 1 Story” in which refugees tell their own stories, and related publicity materials inviting members of the public to get involved and Do 1 Thing to help refugees, such as follow UNHCR on Facebook and Twitter. UNHCR is inviting media organizations to also engage and support the campaign via their news and blog sites. For interested media organizations, online digital banners are available for this purpose.
Join us in letting others know that “one refugee denied a safe heaven is too many”.
For further information, please contact:
Ketty Kehayioylou, Public Information Officer, email: email@example.com
Stella Nanou, Public Information Associate, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.unhcr.org (English)