In January, BVMN’s Legal Working Group submitted three contributions to the call for input for the European Commission’s Rule of Law Report. The submission is open for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from each country; BVMN submitted input for three EU Member States: Croatia, Greece and Slovenia.
In the submission on Greece, the lack of access to justice of pushback survivors was elaborated upon, for instance, the lack of an investigation in the case of 19 deaths that were reportedly survivors of pusbacks at the Evros border in February 2022. In addition, the lack of access to free legal aid was mentioned; the gaps in the new asylum system, introduced in August 2022, inhibiting people on the move to register; as well as the lack of fair trials for people on the move, characterised by short timeframes of criminal trials against people on the move and the disproportionate lengths of sentences. Concerning media pluralism, wiretapping scandals that occurred throughout 2022 were elaborated upon, as well as the effects of the 2021 legislation prohibiting the spreading of vaguely defined “false news” and the fact that in particular CSOs and journalists reporting on migration related issues have been denied legitimacy by governmental officials throughout the year. BVMN also reported on the development of the SLAPP case against 24 Migrant Rights Defenders in the country and the intensification of incidents of criminalisation experienced by members of the network, as well as amendments made to Art. 187 of the Greek Criminal Code that removed legal safeguard for Human Rights Defenders facing criminalisation.