PressStatement20102010_en (2).doc - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presents preliminary findings on his Mission to Greece 20 October 2010 ATHENS The

PressStatement20102010_en (2).doc - UN Special Rapporteur...

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UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presents preliminary findings on his Mission to Greece 20 October 2010 ATHENS - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, issued the following statement: “I would like to thank the Government of Greece for inviting me to conduct a fact-finding mission from 10 to 20 October 2010, and for the full cooperation of senior public officials during the visit. I am grateful to all my interlocutors, including State officials, representatives of civil society, detainees, irregular migrants and victims of ill-treatment for their willingness to share their experiences with me. A list of places visited is annexed to this statement. I also would like to acknowledge the frankness of the discussions the representatives of the Government had with me during our preliminary meetings. Thanks to the cooperation of senior public officials from the Hellenic Police and the Judicial Services, and their compliance with my terms of reference, I was in a position to carry out unannounced visits to various places of detention of my choice and to conduct confidential interviews with selected detainees. I am aware of the particularly overwhelming situation faced by law enforcement officials in Greece. The prisons are severely overcrowded, some of them having to host up to three times more prisoners than their capacity. The pre-trial rate is also very high. Pre-trial detainees are not separated from those convicted. Furthermore, the country is confronted with a major increase of irregular migrants coming, in particular, from the Turkish border in the north. Hundreds of migrants enter the country irregularly every day, an unprecedented number that puts the border guard stations and migration detention centres in a situation of crisis. This is further worsened by the difficulties linked to the current economic crisis the country is facing. Although I am encouraged by the legislative developments the Government will start implementing in the coming months, Greece should not carry the burden of receiving the vast majority of all irregular migrants entering the European Union in 2010. This is a truly European problem which needs a joint European solution, and not only a reinforcement of the European borders with FRONTEX. The European Union should fundamentally rethink its asylum and migration policy and replace the Dublin II Regulation by a fairer system of burden sharing which also takes into account legitimate concerns of asylum seekers and irregular migrants. Torture and ill-treatment Police Stations I received numerous consistent allegations of beatings by police officers, and many of the detainees said they have been physically abused by police either upon arrest or later in the police station. However, there is only little forensic evidence and I only came across a few cases of ill- treatment amounting to torture in the sense of the definition of the Convention Against Torture 1
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(CAT). This lack of evidence may be explained by the non-functioning system of police
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