Our Projects

Opposing Unlawful Detention

We currently focus on addressing the illegal systemic detention scheme on the island of Kos.

The only pre-removal detention centre on the Eastern Aegean islands is located on Kos. Since January 2020, asylum seekers have been detained upon arrival and held in detention for the duration of their asylum proceedings with very little exception, including single women, survivors of torture and gender-based violence, families, and people with serious medical conditions.

After opening our Kos office in January 2021, we began addressing the unlawful detention practices as a central part of our work on the island. We file objections against detention to the administrative court in Rhodes, interventions directly to the police, and claims to the Greek Ombudsman. We also strategically litigate illegal practices before the European Court of Human Rights.

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About this project

Desperation in The Camp Vial Catharina Ziebritzki 2016
Desperation in The Camp Vial Catharina Ziebritzki 2016. Our Visual Policy.

Most legal remedies against detention in Greece require a lawyer, meaning that many asylum seekers have no way to challenge their illegal detention. We try to tackle this severe issue by helping individuals submit claims against their detention before Greek, European, and international bodies. We also engage in advocacy to raise awareness about the practices and conditions on Kos and work with other lawyers and actors on the island to develop strategies against the detention.

Pre Removal Detention Centre on Kos Anonymous 2021
Pre Removal Detention Centre on Kos Anonymous 2021. Our Visual Policy
Lines in The Camp Vial Jamie Kessler 2020
Lines in The Camp Vial Jamie Kessler 2020. Our Visual Policy

Focus: Vulnerable Groups

No one should have to live in conditions like those prevailing in Greece for refugees. But some suffer in worse conditions than others: homeless women are particularly vulnerable, survivors of torture need special treatment, children have a right to school. Human rights apply to everyone. But vulnerable people are even more at risk of becoming victims of human rights violations. The state has an obligation to provide them with special protection. We demand this and support (inter alia) persons with special needs.

Since opening in January 2021, we have secured the release of eight individuals from the pre-removal detention centre through various interventions.

In July 2021, the Ombudsman responded to a request by Equal Rights calling on the police to release 19 migrants unlawfully detained in the Kos pre-removal centre. However, despite two orders from the Ombudsman, the police have refused to release our clients.

In October 2021, we published a report on detention practices and conditions inside the Kos pre-removal detention centre. This was the first full-length report ever issued on the subject and will be an important tool for challenging detention on Kos in the future.

Prison Cell of A Minor in Athens 2019 Anonymous
Prison Cell of A Minor in Athens 2019 Anonymous. Our Visual Policy
If you do not tolerate the injustice that asylum seekers and refugees face at European borders, donate to our individual legal aid projects.

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