Forced Evictions in Patras
|What is affected||
|Type of violation||
|Date||12 July 2009|
|Region||E [ Europe ]|
|- Number of homes|
|- Total value €|
Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)
16 July 2009
AI Index: EUR 25/007/2009
Greece: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras
Amnesty International is calling on the Greek government to ensure that around 100 people who became homeless after being forcibly evicted from their makeshift homes in Patras on 12 July 2009 are provided with immediate emergency relief, including shelter, water and access to medical assistance. The government should also ensure that all victims of the forced eviction are guaranteed the right to an effective remedy and receive adequate alternative accommodation and compensation.
In the context of its long standing concerns that the treatment of irregular migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece violates international standards, Amnesty International is also urging the authorities to provide access to fair and satisfactory asylum procedures to the individuals evicted from the campsite and those arrested during and following the operation who wish to apply for asylum including full procedural safeguards.
Amnesty International also calls the authorities to ensure that the deportation procedures initiated against the irregular migrants arrested during and following the eviction operation are in accordance with due process of law and include procedural safeguards, including the ability to challenge individually the decision to deport; access to competent interpretation services and legal counsel; and access to a review, ideally a judicial review, of a negative decision.
The campsite in Patras has been occupied for some 13 years, most recently by approximately 300 people of Afghani origin including asylum-seekers and irregular migrants. A significant number of these individuals were minors, many of whom were unaccompanied. In breach of international law, people were forcibly evicted from their homes without adequate notice, any prior consultation with the community, due process of law including access to legal remedies, and provision of adequate alternative accommodation for many of those who were evicted. Forced evictions violate a range of international and regional human rights standards to which Greece is a party, including the right to adequate housing. Evictions may only be carried out as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored, and only when all appropriate procedural protections are in place. All persons, irrespective of their legal status, must be guaranteed protection against forced evictions.
The afternoon before the evictions officers from the Patras police force are said to have orally informed some of the individuals living at the campsite that their homes would be demolished the following day, but no official notice of the order was given. The makeshift dwellings were demolished from 5.30am on 12 July in an operation carried out by the county administration, the planning authorities and the police. According to reports many people were not provided with adequate time to remove all their belongings and that day the authorities also refused to show the order of demolition to lawyers representing a non-governmental organization working for the rights of refugees and migrants in the city of Patras. Thus, many people lost their belongings as a result of the demolition and also of a fire that broke out during the demolition.
Around 200 people were present at the time of the evictions, as some of those affected including unaccompanied minors were said to have left the campsite the night before. According to information from the Achaias Police Directorate, in the context of the demolition operation conducted on 12 July 2009, the police documented 45 unaccompanied minors of Afghani origin who were later sent to the special reception centre for minors in the town of Konitsa. Seventeen more minors of Afghani origin subsequently presented themselves at the Patras police station in the days following the eviction, and will