According to the law, UNHCR and organisations working on its behalf have access to detainees. Family members, lawyers and NGOs also have the right to visit and communicate with detained asylum seekers. Their access may be restricted for objective reasons of safety or public order or the sound management of detention facilities, as long as it is not rendered impossible or unduly difficult.
In practice, NGOs’ capacity to access detainees in practice is limited due to human and financial resource constraints. Family members’ access is also restricted due to limited visiting hours and the remote location of some detention facilities.
Another major practical barrier to asylum seekers’ communication with NGOs is that they do not have access to free telephone calls. Therefore access inter alia with NGOs is limited in case they do not have the financial means to buy a telephone card. While some detention centres (Amygdaleza, Corinth, Xanthi, Paranesti, Kos) have adopted good practice in allowing people to use their mobile phones, others such as Tavros and all police stations prohibit the use of mobile phones.
Article 46(10)(c) L 4375/2016, as amended by Article 9 L 4540/2018.
Article 46(10)(d) L 4375/2016, as amended by Article 9 L 4540/2018.