New Greek rules stigmatise NGOs working with migrants

Sallie Anderson

The Greek federal government is targeting NGOs working with migrants as part of a politicised effort to reduce asylum.

New ministerial rules presented previously this year and placed into a broader migration law in May just use to civil society groups that deals with refugees and asylum.

Athens states the rules are required for higher openness and responsibility however NGOs argue they likewise discriminate and are nearly difficult to carry out for smaller sized grassroots organisations.

Prepared by the Greek ministry of financing and the ministry of migration and asylum, the new rules enforce additional conditions on the registration of civil society clothing.

“The law maintains a clear discretion on the ministry of migration and asylum to deny registration – even if the requirements are met,” stated Minos Mouzourakis, a legal officer at Refugee Support Aegean.

NGOs that assist asylum applicants are now required to sign up with the ministry of asylum and migration. They are likewise required to be licensed must they want to get state-level or EU financing.

In affect, the rules basically avoid new NGOs from signing up – due to the fact that they are required to show financial declarations going back 2 years.

Chilling impact

Melina Spathari at Terre des Hommes Hellas, an international NGO, states a centralised upgraded windows registry of NGOs will improve openness.

However she mentioned that it just targets NGOs working with refugees, and needs they get investigated by licensed auditors, and other governmental responsibilities, that threat producing a chilling impact.

“This new process will exclude many organisations because they don’t have the budget to cover this exorbitant costs. We are talking about very small civil society organisations, grass roots,” she stated.

It likewise indicates asylum applicants and refugees might stand to lose provided lots of count on the NGOs for fundamental requirements in Greece.

Greece currently has around 86 signed up NGOs working on migration. Of those, 73 are national and 13 international.

The previous federal government in Greece, voted out of power last summer season, had actually established a computer system registry forNGOs The new windows registry for NGO personnel developed previously this year is including an entire new layer of requirements.

“This has happened in the context of a deteriorating public narrative around NGOs and specifically NGOs that work with asylum seekers and migrants and people on the move in general,” stated Adriana Tidona, a scientist on migration at Amnesty International’s European office.

Tidona states the new rules are positioning severe concerns when it pertains to the liberty of association, the liberty of expression, discrimination and the right to personal privacy.

“It is also concerning that the registration is basically entrusted to an authority which is not independent from the government,” she stated.

Likewise called the ‘unique collaborating secretary’, it can authorize or withdraw registrations anytime.

Physicians of the World Greece stated the secretary’s power is undue, noting it will have the ability to turn down an application even if all the legal requirements are met.

“As it stands, the law seems to have been activated in order to punish and exclude NGOs from public affairs instead of regulating their action by integrating them into a transparent and accountable collaborative framework with the state and citizens,” stated Elli Xenou at Physicians of the World Greece.

Such relocations appear to line up with public declarations made by political leaders from Greece’s ruling party New Democracy, who have actually implicated some NGOs of smuggling and people trafficking.

More just recently, Greece’s migration and asylum minister, Notis Mitarachi blamed NGOs without supplying proof, for mishandling some EUR1.3 bn EU funds in between 2015 and2019


Tacit assistance

The relocation comes in the middle of increased stress over migration following Turkey’s stopped working quote to send out countless refugee hopefuls into Greece in March.

It likewise comes in the middle of continuous silence by a European Commission on supposed rights abuses in Greece after the nation suspended asylum applications for a month.

Asked to comment on the new rules, the European Commission has yet to react to this website.

However in March, the European Commission’s vice-president Margaritis Schinas entrusted to promote ‘our European lifestyle’ provided an idea.

When asked about Greece suspending asylum claims,

“EU support will be unequivocal,” stated Schinas.

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