The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights made public 16 March his third party intervention submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, following an invitation by the Court, in a group of cases concerning return of asylum seekers from the Netherlands to Greece by virtue of the EC 'Dublin Regulation'.
Commissioner Hammarberg's written submission was based on his visits to Greece in December 2008 and February 2010 as well as on continuous country monitoring. He provided the Court with his observations on major issues concerning the asylum procedure in Greece and human rights safeguards, as well as asylum seekers' reception and detention conditions.
The Commissioner concluded that current asylum law and practice in Greece are not in compliance with international and European human rights standards, expressing at the same time his full support to the Greek government's decision and ongoing efforts to overhaul the refugee protection system and overcome its current serious deficiencies.
This third party intervention is the first one of this kind made by the Commissioner under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the European Convention on Human Rights. In another case in 2007, the Commissioner replied to questions put forward by the Court relating to the situation of an applicant.
With the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 to the Convention, the Commissioner will have the right to intervene proprio motu [of own initiative] as third party in the Court's proceedings.
CommDH 2010 9 Third