Fundamental Rights in the “Hotspots”
In 2016, FRA had published an Opinion on fundamental rights in the “hotspots” set up in Greece and Italy formulating “21 individual opinions to address the fundamental rights shortcomings identified in the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece and Italy”.
In March 2019, FRA published an update of the 2016 Opinion. Out of the 21 issues outlined in 2016, only three were properly addressed. For eight opinions, the update sees developments, however, without yet resulting in significant improvements on the ground. No significant progress was made for 10 out of the 21 issues outlined in 2016.
Issues properly addressed were the excessive use of force to take fingerprints, training for escorts deployed for readmissions, and the independent monitoring of return and readmission operations.
By contrast, no significant improvements at all have been achieved with regard to the following issues:
- Systemic delays in registering asylum applications of certain nationalities in the Greek hotspots;
- Delays with regard to the asylum procedure of unaccompanied children;
- Legal support for asylum applicants in the Greek hotspots;
- Material reception conditions;
- Systematic vetting procedures to ensure that individuals with a child abuse past do not engage with children in the hotspots;
- Lack of information on procedures and rights;
- Risk of gender-based violence due to inappropriate camp design and management;
- Risk of abuse and violence for children;
- Community engagement and outreach through regular meetings with asylum seekers and migrants hosted in the hotspots;
- Placement in pre-removal detention.
Therefore, the report strongly asks for the support of the EU and other EU Member States to take the load off these hotspots.