A/HRC/45/16/Add.1: Visit to Greece - Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
29 July 2020
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Greece from 2 to 13 December 2019 upon the invitation of the Government. The Working Group identified positive developments, including the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the designation of the Greek Ombudsman as the national preventive mechanism, and the use of alternatives to detention and provisions for early release. At the same time, there were challenges in the criminal justice system, such as widespread pretrial detention, insufficient awareness of the right to legal assistance and instances of short trials. In the context of migration, the Working Group observed, among other issues, a lack of awareness among detainees of their right to apply for international protection and of the procedural requirements, a substantial burden on shelters for unaccompanied children, instances of inaccurate application of procedures for the assessment of age and vulnerability, and insufficient legal aid to challenge detention and removal decisions. Lastly, the Working Group found that the procedure for involuntary admission of persons with psychosocial disabilities remained problematic, and identified delays in consideration of involuntary admissions by the courts and lack of access to a lawyer to challenge mental health assessments. Among its recommendations, the Working Group encourages Greece to become a party to several human rights instruments and to adopt specific practices that offer greater protection against arbitrary detention.