Refugees integration in Greece: An update on the situation

Recently UNICEF undertook an assessment on the refugee situation in Greece. The purpose of this was to get more insight into the humanitarian aid and assistance being provided and see where things are being missed and needs are not being met.

The main focus was specifically conducted on the shift of being provided with money and free accomodation to being self sufficient and properly integrated within Greek life. It also focused on all type and groups of people from the elderly to the LGBTI community to orphaned children to ensure all considerations were analyzed. The amount of people surveyed were 1436. The following key issues were identified in the study:

  • Lack of information and awareness on national services, asylum procedures, and available complaint and reporting mechanisms
  • Lack of Greek language classes
  • Access to formal education for all
  • Insufficient interpretation
  • Lack of female staff in various agencies including the Police, amongst interpreters and medical staff
  • Delayed asylum procedures
  • Limited access to national services including healthcare, legal aid, psychological and social services Lack of access to quality food and proper WASH facilities
  • Absence of outreach programmes
  • Inadequate law enforcement, creating a culture of impunity particularly in RICs and sites
  • Absence of community-based protection mechanisms
  • Social cohesion programmes appeared limited in outreach

After looking at this the following suggestions were made to tackle these issues:

  • Improve information provision
  • strengthened interpretation services
  • increase advocacy to improve access to public services (education, medical, psychological)
  • promote the enrolment of all children in the public school system increase support for employment and documentation (for self-reliance, integration)
  • develop and promote co-existence and raise-awareness programmes with the host community; provide training on refugee protection principles to key host community actors’ personnel (e.g. school teachers)
  • improve law enforcement increase social cohesion and community recreational projects
  • implement more community-based and self-reliance initiatives to help refugees feel empowered and included
  • establish and strengthen outreach programmes and a centralized response (e.g., through community centres)
  • strengthen community-based protection mechanisms

It is absolutely crucial that aid relief organizations are undertaking research such as this to see best where gaps are not being filled. This document was only recently released so we have yet so see it come to fruition but a full copy of the report can be found here which discusses implementation plans more thoroughly.