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Parliamentary questions
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6 March 2018
Question for written answer E-001400-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea (ALDE) , Tanja Fajon (S&D) , Maria Grapini (S&D) , Maria Gabriela Zoană (S&D) , Tokia Saïfi (PPE) , Pina Picierno (S&D) , Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL) , Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE/NGL) , Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE) , Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D) , Mercedes Bresso (S&D) , Silvia Costa (S&D) , Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) , Marlene Mizzi (S&D) , Malin Björk (GUE/NGL) , Carlos Coelho (PPE) , Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso (PPE) , Antonio López-Istúriz White (PPE) , Anna Hedh (S&D) , Marita Ulvskog (S&D) , Jytte Guteland (S&D) , Jens Nilsson (S&D) , Wajid Khan (S&D) , Luigi Morgano (S&D) , Javier Nart (ALDE) , Ana Gomes (S&D) , Gérard Deprez (ALDE) , Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , João Pimenta Lopes (GUE/NGL) , João Ferreira (GUE/NGL) , Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D) , Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL) , Molly Scott Cato (Verts/ALE) , Javier Couso Permuy (GUE/NGL) , Michaela Šojdrová (PPE) , Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE) , Julie Ward (S&D) , Merja Kyllönen (GUE/NGL) , Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE) , Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE) , Barbara Lochbihler (Verts/ALE) , Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL) , Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL) , Claude Turmes (Verts/ALE) , Dietmar Köster (S&D) , Claude Moraes (S&D) , Eva Joly (Verts/ALE) , Soraya Post (S&D) , Benedek Jávor (Verts/ALE) , Hilde Vautmans (ALDE) , Monika Beňová (S&D) , Miguel Urbán Crespo (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Ernest Urtasun (Verts/ALE) , Bodil Valero (Verts/ALE) , António Marinho e Pinto (ALDE) , Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL) , Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL) , Jordi Solé (Verts/ALE) , Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE) , Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL) , Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL) , Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE) , Josef Weidenholzer (S&D) , Nessa Childers (S&D) , Olle Ludvigsson (S&D) , Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE) , Caterina Chinnici (S&D)

 Subject:  Detention of unaccompanied children in police station cells in Greece
 Answer in writing 

Human Rights Watch reports that in Greece, as of late December 2017, 54 unaccompanied children were held in police station cells or in immigrant detention centres(1). Their research found that these children lived in ‘unsanitary conditions, often with unrelated adults’ and could be ‘subject to abuse and ill-treatment by police’.

Detention of children is contrary to international human rights law(2), as stated also by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Article 6 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 states that Member States shall closely cooperate with each other, shall take due account of family reunification possibilities and, in the case of unaccompanied minors, shall ‘as soon as possible take appropriate action to identify the family members, siblings or relatives of the unaccompanied minor on the territory of Member States’.

Is the Commission aware of this situation and, if so, what steps will it take to support alternative measures to detention, to speed up family reunification from Greece with relatives and for the safe relocation of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children even if they lack family ties?

(1)According to HRW and several studies, among which a report drawn up at the Commission’s request, detention has a serious long-term impact on children, including ‘harm to their development, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and memory loss’: http://odysseus-network.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/FINAL-REPORT-Alternatives-to-detention-in-the-EU.pdf https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/23/asylum-seeking-kids-locked-greece http://www.unhcr.org/58a458eb4
(2)UN General Assembly, New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants : resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 3 October 2016, A/RES/71/1, ‘We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives (…) will also pursue alternatives to detention while these assessments are under way.’ http://www.refworld.org/docid/57ceb74a4.html — General Comment No 21 (2017) of the UN Committee on the rights of the child on children in street situations — see paragraph 44 ‘Deprivation of liberty, for example, in detention cells or closed centres, is never a form of protection.’

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