Whether female victims of spousal abuse from Russia are recognized as Convention Refugees [GRC42545.E]

In correspondence dated 27 April 2004, the International Organization for Migration Mission in Greece states that "the decision to grant refugee protection in Greece depends on the specificities of each case." As of May 2000, there were no special provisions for female refugee protection seekers in Greece (UNHCR 1 May 2000) and according to the IOM and UNHCR, the Greek authorities have not dealt with any refugee claims made by female victims of spousal abuse from 1999 to the present (ibid; IOM 27 Apr. 2004). Furthermore, according to a representative of the IOM, the Ministry of Public Order of Greece, which is the body responsible for granting refugee protection, does not grant refugee status to female victims of spousal abuse from Russia under the United Nations Convention (ibid.). A Senior Public Information Clerk with UNHCR in Athens concurs and states that "Greece does not have any related jurisprudence on female victims of spousal abuse who seek asylum on this ground" (UNHCR 28 Apr. 2004).

No other information was found regarding the recognition of refugee claims made by female victims of spousal abuse from Russia in Greece among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the following information on the refugee status determination system in Greece may be of interest.

The United Nations Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951, the New York Protocol of 1967 and the Greek Presidential Decree No. 61/1999 govern the refugee protection determination system in Greece (ibid. 1 May 2000; Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004; US Committee for Refugees 2003). Greece only grants refugee status according to the Geneva Convention (UNHCR 1 May 2000). Presidential Decree No. 61/1999 was enacted to bring Greek law into compliance with UNHCR refugee protection procedure standards, but in an analysis of Greek human rights issues in 2003, the US Department of State reported that the decree has not been enforced (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 25 Feb. 2004). Also in an evaluation of the implementation of this decree, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights reported that the Greek authorities often acted in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1951 (IHF 28 May 2002) and the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a publication of Greek human rights issues, adds that Greek authorities repeatedly refuse to apply legislation applicable to the refugee determination process, despite pleas made by the Greek Ombudsman and Greek human rights groups (GHM 8 Mar. 2003).

In 2002, UNHCR also expressed concern about the low number of applicants granted refugee protection in Greece (USCR 2003; Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004). For the first ten months of 2003, 3 out of 7,271 applicants were granted refugee status in Greece (ibid.). According to more than 45 human rights groups, refugee claimants in Greece are denied the right to a fair trial (Amnesty et al. 15 June 2002; USCR 2003; GHM 8 Mar. 2003; IHF 10 Oct. 2003; ibid 13 Sept. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International et al. 15 June 2002. "45 Rights Groups from 21 Euro-Mediterranean Countries Decry Frequent and Grave Violations of Foreign Detainees' Rights in Greece." http://hrw.org/campaigns/migrants/docs/greece_detainees.pdf [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

Country Reports on Human Right Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. "Greece." United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27840.htm [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM). 8 March 2003. "Greece: Violations of Asylum Seekers' Rights 2001-2003." http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghm_08_03_03.doc [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

International Organization for Migration (IOM). Athens, Greece. 27 April 2004. Correspondence from an IOM Representative in Greece.

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF). 10 October 2003. OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, 6-17 October 2003. http://www.ihf-hr.org/viewbinary/viewdocument.php?doc_id=5243 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

______. 13 September 2002. OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, 9-19 September 2002: Humanitarian Issues: Migration, Refugees, Displaced Persons. http://www.ihf-hr.org/viewbinary/viewdocument.php?doc_id=531 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

______. 28 May 2002. Human Rights in the OSCE Region: The Balkans, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2002 (Events 2001). http://www.ihf-hr.org/documents/doc_summary.php?sec_id=3&d_id=423 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Athens, Greece. 28 April 2004. Correspondence from a Senior Public Information Clerk.

______. 1 May 2000. Legal and Social Conditions for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Western European Countries: Greece. http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rsd/+QwwBme6iJ69wwwwMwwwwwwwxFqwqFqwmFqwnFqwhFqwtFqttGnnqnrFqwoFqwzFqwAFqqejhrmFmmDFqm7y-dFqt2IygZf3zmxwwwwwww/rsddocview.pdf [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

US Committee for Refugees (USCR). 2003. World Refugee Survey 2003 Country Report: Greece. http://www.refugees.org/world/countryrpt/europe/2003/greece.cfm [Accessed 26 Apr. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Unsuccessful attempt to contact the Greek Council for Refugees

Internet sites, including: Human Rights Watch, Norwegian Refugee Council, Refugees International, World Immigration and Deportation, Danish Immigration Service, Migration News, BBC, CNN, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, World News, Dialog.

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