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Inadequate protection for the victims of torture: reception, identification and certification within the Greek institutional framework

Press Release 21/12/2021

Inadequate protection for the victims of torture: reception, identification and certification within the Greek institutional framework

Today METAdrasi publishes a report titled “Victims of torture: from detection to protection —history, practice and proposals for the amelioration of the protection of victims of torture in Greece.” The extensive investigation by METAdrasi as well as the report are included in the actions of advocacy and information of the program “Hope and Memory: Identification and certification of Victims of Torture” that is implemented within the framework of the program Active Citizens Fund.

The purpose of this report is not only to pinpoint the problematic legal provision for the certification of torture victims via public and army hospitals, but to underline the need for independent expert and multi-scientific groups to be involved in the process of detection and identification of the vulnerable population of torture victims. Finally, it demonstrates that the present processes for reception and identification are unsuitable for the detection of potential victims, and are unable to provide a sufficient framework of living conditions and recovery.

The report includes references to the appropriate international and European laws, statistical data and an analytical presentation of institutions and practices relating to Greece; a brief review of what is happening in other European countries and of course the resulting remarks and proposals of the scientific team responsible for the research, the study and the writing of the report.

METAdrasi is the only institution which, since 2011, recognises and identifies torture victims via a procedure based on and guided by the principles of the “Istanbul protocol”. In 2013, with the inauguration of the new Asylum Service, an important step in our country, METAdrasi was included for the first time in the system, as the expert institution of reference for torture victims.

One of the basic roles of the institutions of the Civil Society is the empowerment and support of the officials of Public Administration so that they can respond efficiently to the task they have undertaken. METAdrasi regularly organises training seminars on the subject of identification and recognition of torture victims for the staff of the relevant services involved. Within the framework of the program “Hope and Memory,” for the first time three training seminars were organised within a year, with a participation of 229 people, most of whom came from the Service for the Reception and Certification, and the Asylum Service. Members of the organisations of the Society of Citizens who are involved with the refugee issue were also trained, in order to improve their own know-how.

These training sessions should be organised annually with the purpose of providing know-how and experience so that the staff can recognise and deal in a competent way with the more obvious cases of torture and to refer to METAdrasi only the more complicated cases.

“It is not widely known that while this is the 21st century, there are still people subjected to terrible torture and thus obliged to abandon their country. Our hope is that it will become possible to recognise them directly at the borders, which will be a major step for their protection,” declares Katerina Downward, Coordination Manager of the program “Hope and Memory.”

The programme “Hope and Memory” is implemented in the framework of the programme “Active Citizens Fund”, by METAdrasi – Action for Migration and Development.

The Active Citizens Fund is supported through a € 12m grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aims to develop the sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector, and to strengthen its role in promoting and safeguarding democratic procedures, active citizenship and human rights. The Fund Operator for the Active Citizens Fund in Greece is Bodossaki Foundation in consortium with SolidarityNow. More information here: www.activecitizensfud.gr.

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