The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) of the Council of Europe expresses in its report its concern about the continuing abuse of third-country prisoners.
In the report released today, the Committe recognizes the significant ongoing challenges that Greek authorities face due to the increased number of refugees and immigrants arriving in the country, but notes overcrowding, poor detention conditions, and even mistreatment of the detained migrants.
The findings of the report are based on the Committee’s visit to Greece last April.
As noted in the report, detention conditions in most police stations and border guard stations visited by CPT members remain unsuitable for detention for more than 24 hours and yet continue to be used to detain illegal immigrants for prolonged periods of time.
The Committee recommends a drastical reduce of occupancy levels in detention facilities so that the capacity of the structures is not exceeded, and each prisoner will be able to receive appropriate food, a mattress, clean bedding and adequate hygiene products. Finally, it calls for immediate measures to be taken to bring vulnerable people to appropriate open reception facilities.
Especially for children, the report states that no decisive steps have been taken by the Greek authorities to implement the CPT’s previous recommendations regarding their detention and asks the authorities to make a substantive review of their policy on the detention of unaccompanied children, both for reception and identification purposes and for their “protective guarding”.
In addition, the Committee highlights inadequate health care services for prisoners in most of the detention centers visited, as it has found the absence of even basic medical equipment, medicines, medical staff and translators. Moreover, it notes that there is no systematic medical check-up on the arrival of refugees and immigrants, and even access to a doctor is not possible in practice. The Committee makes a number of recommendations to address these shortcomings.
Finally, the CPT makes recommendations for the psychiatric sector in Greece, as the reforms undertaken are “still incomplete”, as problems remain, such as the inadequate patient allocation, the lack of staff mainly in Dromokaition Psychiatric Hospital and Athena Psychiatric Clinic, and/or the overcrowded psychiatric structures in three hospitals (Evaggelismos, Gennimatas and Sotiria).