Greece ‘unfit’ for asylum reviews: Swedish court

The Migration Court (Migrationsdomstolen) in Malmö has halted the transfer of five asylum seekers to Greece even though EU rules stipulate the applications should be reviewed there.

The court has found that “the asylum process in Greece has such wide deficiencies” that there is a risk that the applicants would not receive a fair trial and that there is a “considerable risk” that they would be forced to return to their home country “despite the fact that the need for protection may exist.”

As such, Sweden should take over the asylum procedure, the court has found.

The five asylum seekers, two women and their three children, first traveled to Greece before arriving in Sweden. According to EU rules enshrined in the Dublin Convention, their applications for asylum should therefore be processed in the first EU country in which they arrive.

While the court referred to a 2008 ruling that the transfers could be made to Greece, it also pointed out that Greek legislation has deteriorated since then. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has refused to participate in the new Greek asylum process.

Moreover, the Migration Court added that only 1.2 percent of all asylum applications in Greece received approval on the first instance last year and two percent in the second instance.

The court underlined that the UNHCR has shown that the refusals “are standardised” and lack detailed legal reasoning, referring to the circumstances of the case or country information.

The court found “strong humanitarian grounds” for an exception from the Dublin Regulation.

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