A homeless woman on Christmas day in front of a cosmetic shop in downtown Athens on December 25, 2020, Athens, Greece | Photo: Vassilis A. Poularikas/NurPhoto
A homeless woman on Christmas day in front of a cosmetic shop in downtown Athens on December 25, 2020, Athens, Greece | Photo: Vassilis A. Poularikas/NurPhoto

A German court has ruled that two Syrian refugees who received protection status in Greece cannot be deported from Germany. The court said the human rights of the women would be put at risk if they were returned to Greece.

A court in the German state of Lower Saxony on Monday ruled that two sisters from Syria could not be sent back to Greece, where they had been given protection status. The women had left Greece and traveled to Germany where they had submitted another application for asylum to the German migration authority, BAMF.

BAMF rejected their applications and an appeal failed on the grounds that the women would be able to receive basic support in Greece with the help of aid organizations and informal networks.

The Higher Administrative court in Lüneburg disagreed, stating in a published summary: "Current evidence suggests that refugees who have been returned [to Greece] are not provided with any accommodation by the state, do not receive any housing-related social benefits and have no significant chance of finding accommodation from non-state agencies."

Refugees destitute

In a similar case, a court in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) ruled in January that two refugees threatened with deportation to Greece would be at serious risk of inhumane and degrading treatment if they were to be sent back.

The NRW court had also agreed that the men would be unable to find accommodation in reception facilities or homeless shelters, and would have difficulty accessing the labor market. A large number of recognized beneficiaries of protection in Greece are destitute.

This year, more than 2,000 recognized refugees from Greece have made a subsequent application for asylum in Germany. According to BAMF, 7,100 people seeking asylum in Germany in 2020 had already been recognized in Greece. In March, BAMF announced that it had put a freeze on asylum applications of those who already had protection status.

 

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