The last 3 of July representatives of the majority of refugee communities in Greece had an appointment in the new asylum service in Katehaki to speak with Maria Stavropoulou, the director of the office, about the problems asylum seekers face in the process of being officially recognized.
This meeting was arranged for the Greek Forum of Refugees after members of the communities expressed their concern about the numerous obstacles and difficulties they have in the conference "The asylum today-the Voice of Communities." that the Greek Forum of Refugees organized last June with the collaboration of the Greek Council of Refugees.
In the meeting the communities could speak directly about the current situation in the Katehaki office. It would seem that for those who manage to be registered is good and functional, because there is an increase of percentage of recognition of asylum seekers. But the reality is that this office in Athens (Katehaki street) is almost the only one for all Greece, so the access to this service for asylum seekers is very difficult, not to say almost impossible. There are some persons that for months are visiting the office almost every day but they can't be registered. Every day there is a large line of asylum seekers in front of the office, and many cases of persons that have been arrested on the way to the asylum office. The communities are afraid that the same problems they had in Petro Ralli (old asylum service) will repeat again in the new office.
The director Maria Stavropoulou and other members of the asylum office expressed their concern about these problems and admitted that they suffer a big lack of stuff and budget to face the big amount of asylum request arriving to the office. But they committed to improve the functions of the office and communicated a new idea for solving the problem of the endless queue of people every day in front of the asylum office. There is an idea for creating an Skype account in order to give appointments to the asylum seekers before they come to the office, working with a photography system
The result of the meeting was positive and both communities and stuff of asylum office accepted a compromise of continue with this communication between them in the next months. The communities which attended to the meeting were the Afghan, syrian and nigerian communities in Greece, the association of Afghan United in Greece, Gefira (solidarity to Syrians), Soudanian Refugees Association, and also Guinean, Ukranian, Georgian, Somalian and Congolese community.