The Integration Centre for Migrant Workers – Ecumenical Refugee Program organized very successfully its second workshop entitled “Working with the Asylum Systems: Experience and challenges”, which took place at the modern event venue “The Cube Athens” on Thursday the 28th of June. The Director of the Centre, Reverend Archimandrite Father Panteleimon Papasynefakis, delivered an opening greeting speech. Among other things, he stressed the significance of the Centre’s humanitarian work and the consistency that it has been demonstrating so far under adverse circumstances, pointing out the strong challenges of the refugee issue in Greece and generally Europe in the wake of the last developments and discussions regarding the refugee crisis in the Council of Europe.

The coordinator of the project “Rebuild our Lives – Legal Aid for Refugees in Athens”, Mrs. Helena Pantopoulou, prefaced the event and informed the audience about the programs of free legal support regarding the national asylum procedure, which are implemented on the premises of the office located at Varatasi 2 street, as well as about the challenges that each of these programs has to deal with on a daily basis.

The main part of the workshop consisted of three round tables; each of them had a different topic to deal with. In the context of the first round table, under the coordination of the lawyer Maria Patri, the topic of the discussion was the challenges that arise during the determination of the vulnerability and the need for special provision in order to achieve the smooth integration of both asylum applicants and recognized refugees in the country. The first round table comprised prominent specialists on the issue of vulnerability, like Mr Dimitrios Georgiadis, who is in charge of the Centre of Reception and Identification of the Open Facility of Eleona, Mrs Elati Pontikopoulou-Venieri, who is a lawyer of the CCME program “Backlog cases of Ecumenical Refugee Program”, Mrs Anthoula Koutsoupi, who is a social worker of the program “Rebuild our Lives – Legal Aid for Refugees in Athens”, and Mrs Maria Takla, who is an interpreter of the Arabic language working for the same program too.

In the context of the second round table, under the coordination of the lawyer Mrs Helena Pantopoulou, some special aspects of the asylum procedures were discussed, for which a deviation from the principle of the legitimacy has been deduced. Some of the more special issues that were discussed concerned the application of the exclusion clauses at first instance of the asylum procedures, the border procedure, the issue of the quality of the asylum decisions at first and second instance, as well as the issue of family reunifications in Greece with recognized refugees. The panel comprised the lawyer and coordinator of the program of free legal assistance of the Greek Council for Refugees, Mr Andreas Pitsinis, the director of HIAS Hellas and lawyer Mr Vasilis Kerasiotis, as well as the lawyers of the program “Rebuild our Lives – Legal Aid for Refugees in Athens”, Mr Georgios Papadimitriou and Mr Christos Gkolompias.

Finally, during the third part of the presentations, under the coordination of the lawyer Mrs Christina Voulimenea, the doctor and vice-president of the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention (HCDCP), Mr Agapios Terzidis, made interventions regarding special subject areas of the vulnerability, referring to HCDCP’s practices concerning the determination of the vulnerability. Also, Mrs Ellie Kouvari and Mrs Athanasia Kotsiatou, social workers of the program “Bringing families together 2018 – Legal counselling/assistance for family reunification of Persons of Concern with Specific Needs”, referred to the handling of incidents that enter the National procedure while previously they fell into the family reunification procedure according to the Dublin regulations.

(At the following links, you can download in greek Workshop’s program and presentations)

Workshop’s program 1st round table 2nd round table


3rd round table