The UK Border Agency has announced today the suspension of the return of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin Regulation. With immediate effect, the backlog of approximately 1300 cases and all new cases will have their applications heard in the UK, and not Greece.
This will come as a great relief to all those facing return to the “broken asylum system” of Greece. The decision-making process in the UK leaves a lot to be desired but at least we have legal aid (for now, and only just) and the initial sucess rate is more than Greece’s 1%.
The decision comes as a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision to refer the case of NS (formerly known as Saeedi) to the Court of Justice of the European Union. It appears that this process could take up to two years, so the UK Government has decided to use it’s powers to assess asylum claims in the UK during this period, rather than have the applicants wait for the outcome.
The UK Border Agency has stressed that this decision is purely pragmatic, and is in no way related to the multiple human rights abuses and the near impossibility of claiming asylum in Greece, as highlighted time and again by the United Nations refugee agency, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc.