Among those repulsed are many Afghans. One of them was Zaher, the thirteen-year-old who died last December 13 in Venice, crushed under the truck which was bound to enter Italy. Upon dismembering from the vessel, he did not reach the police, because he was afraid of being rejected in Greece. Rejection apllies to children as well. As it apllied to Juma K., rejected three times from Venice and Bari, at the age of sixteen. the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has many times expressed its concerns against readmissions of asylum seekers to Greece. In a note dated 13 April 2008 UNHCR asked the EU Members to abbey the EU Dublin II Regulation about the repulsion of Refugees to Greece. And the UN High Commissioner Guterres has spoken of the Adriatic border with the Italian Interior Minister Maroni, in their recent meeting. On 24 June 2008 the Tar (Regional Administrative Court) of Puglia region blocked the readmission to Greece of an Afghan refugee on the basis of this position of the UNHCR. A decision that the Norwegian government had independently taken in February 2008, blocking thus the readmission or refugees from Norway to Greece. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Iraq on 15 February 2007 which also made references against Greece, albeit in an indirect way, without ever mentioning the country,.
Greece has the lowest rate of recognition of refugee status: around 2% against a European average of 20%. Tragic fact: no Iraqi has ever been recognized as a refugee. So Greece denies protection to thousands of applicants who are recognized refugees in the EU. Complaints about lack of recognition of the right of asylum in Greece are also made by civil society. The German NGO Pro Asyl, after a recent visit to the country 20-28 October 2008 wrote:” Greece is not able to guarantee the minimum requirements of an asylum system”. Out of 10,165 applications filed in the first half of 2008, 8387 were examined, and all of them have received a negative response. Human Rights Watch also took over the case. In the report “Stuck in a revolving door” reads: ” Greece denies protection to those vulnerable and abuses those in detention”. This is why HRW has called “…the Member States of the European Union to suspend readmissions of asylum-seekers to Greece.”