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PRAKSIS, Projects of Development Social Support and Medical Cooperation

NGO Directory, 27 October 2011

Address:
Stournari 57
10432 Athens
Greece

Tel: +30 210 520 5200
Fax: +30 210 520 5201
Web: www.praksis.gr

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UNHCR country pages

Beyond the Border

In 2010, the Turkish border with Greece became the main entry point for people attempting by irregular methods to reach member states of the European Union, with over 132,000 arrivals. While some entered as migrants with the simple wish of finding a better life, a significant number fled violence or persecution in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. The journey is perilous, with many reports of drowning when people board flimsy vessels and try to cross the Mediterranean Sea or the River Evros on the border between Greece and Turkey. The many deficiencies in the Greek asylum system are exacerbated by the pressure of tens of thousands of people awaiting asylum hearings. Reception facilities for new arrivals, including asylum-seekers, are woefully inadequate. Last year, UNHCR visited a number of overcrowded facilities where children, men and women were detained in cramped rooms with insufficient facilities. UNHCR is working with the Greek government to improve its asylum system and has called upon other European states to offer support.

Beyond the Border

The makeshift camp at Patras

Thousands of irregular migrants, some of whom are asylum-seekers and refugees, have sought shelter in a squalid, makeshift camp close to the Greek port of Patras since it opened 13 years ago. The camp consisted of shelters constructed from cardboard and wood and housed hundreds of people when it was closed by the Greek government in July 2009. UNHCR had long maintained that it did not provide appropriate accommodation for asylum-seekers and refugees. The agency had been urging the government to find an alternative and put a stronger asylum system in place to provide appropriate asylum reception facilities for the stream of irregular migrants arriving in Greece each year.The government used bulldozers to clear the camp, which was destroyed by a fire shortly afterwards. All the camp residents had earlier been moved and there were no casualties. Photographer Zalmaï, a former refugee from Afghanistan, visited the camp earlier in the year.

The makeshift camp at Patras

George Dalaras

George Dalaras

Greece: Syrian Refugees StrugglePlay video

Greece: Syrian Refugees Struggle

As Syrian refugees escape conflict and seek refuge in Greece, they face major new challenges.
Greece: A Way into EuropePlay video

Greece: A Way into Europe

Desperate Syrian refugees take deadly risks to get to Europe.
The Long WaitPlay video

The Long Wait

Every week dozens of foreigners queue for hours outside an Athens police building hoping for a chance to apply for asylum.