Asylum Seekers and refugees discuss solutions and challenges in annual Greece participatory assessment
- Written by E.Tsiliopoulos
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today published the results of an annual participatoryassessment report on the concerns of asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece abouttheir current situation and future prospects and risks and how to address them.
The participatory assessment was concluded by holding separate discussions with women,girls, boys, and men, to gather information from their perspective on their daily lives, theprotection risks they face and to hear their proposed solutions.
Under the Inter-Agency Participatory Assessment 2018 (PA), Focus Group Discussionswere led by 41 partners from authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) andother United Nations (UN) agencies between January and July this year across thecountry.
The annual consultation is aimed at ensuring the participation of asylum-seekers and refugees in the design and review of humanitarian programmes in Greece,and placing them at the centre of decision-making concerning their protection and well-being.The main focus is on the risks, challenges, and opportunities as they shift from receivingfree accommodation and cash assistance to becoming self-sufficient and integrating withthe Greek society.
This year’s PA also focuses on communication with communities(CwC) and other important protection issues, while the survey aims at identifying strengths within the communities that could contribute to improving the humanitarianresponse. The survey is based on direct consultations with 1,436 asylum-seekers and refugeesfrom a wide cross section of society, including people with specific needs, the elderly,LGBTI and unaccompanied and separated children.
The focus group discussions were held on islands, the mainland, urban areas and state-run accommodation sites and Reception and Identification Centres (RIC). People from 26 countries took part. Participants discussed a number of key issues, and they identified priorities and madespecific and concrete recommendations.
In general, with the increasing focus on self-reliance, inclusion and integration, participants sought support through access to thelabour market, Greek language classes, more provision of information, and inclusion inprogrammes (including education) and activities across Greece. Language was seen asvital. The other major concerns discussed also included unclear, delayed and lengthy asylumprocedures that cause debilitating frustration and anxiety; limited services and unclearprocedures; xenophobia and racism; insecurity and inadequate law enforcement,including inaction over inter-communal fights; SGBV, particularly in some of the RICswhere segregation is insufficient.
Participants also noted too few interpreters; lack o fcommunity-based protection structures; measures to encourage co-existence with thehost community; information and interpretation provision; access to formal education forall; complaint and reporting mechanisms; and insufficient access to national servicessuch as health and medical care.