“Asylum and Refugee Law: Application to special groups” 16/5/2019

The fourth meeting of the seminar “Asylum and Refugee Law: Recent European Developments”, entitled “Asylum and Refugee Law: Application to special groups”, was successfully concluded on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The event opened with the greeting of Mr. Yannis Politis on behalf of the EPLO European Public Law Organization. Then, the coordinator Mr. Vassilis Chatzopoulos Professor of EU Law and Politics, Panteion University, addressed the participants and presented the speakers.

The session began with the speech of Ms. Chrysa Tsouka, Assoc. Professor, Law School, University of Athens, which was focused on the role of the minors in the Refugee Law. Protection the children in the International and National legal frameworks was the first and important part of the presentation. She then referred to the relevant arrangements of the Dublin III Regulation. Ms. Tsouka made extensive reference to Law 4375/2016 as well as to the points of friction between EU and humanitarian law. The speech concluded with Ms. Tsouka stressing the need for systematic application of child protection rules in the context of international protection law.

The second speaker, Ms. Sotiria Kasnakoudi, Ministry of Migration Policy representative, focused on her speech on cases of foreigners who lack a passport in the light of statelessness. Ms Kasnakoudi referred, in addition to the legal framework and the problems arising from it, to the practical application of this legal framework when immigration law meets refugee law. The objective weakness of obtaining travel documents, as well as the definition of statelessness, were key points of the speech. 

The event continued with Ms. Katerina Cometa, Lawyer – Coordinator of the Prometheus Torture Survivors Recovery Program, Greek Refugee Council, and her presentation on the issue of sexual orientation in the asylum process. Ms Cometa, through the definition of refugee and reference to particular social groups, spoke about gender identity and how it is experienced by each individual. In her speech, she emphasized the incomprehensibility of LGBTQ community in the asylum process and how the state can protect these people through reasonable measures for effective and permanent protection, even though such protection is not often provided in the countries of origin of the refugee population.

The last speaker, Ms. Theodora Gazi, Lawyer, Data Protection Officer, Danish Refugee Council (DRC Greece), spoke on the protection of personal data when providing humanitarian aid in Greece. Ms. Gazi analyzed the importance of personal data as a fundamental right legally recognized. In particular, he emphasized the principles of humanitarian aid, and how these principles, through the principle of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, should be consistent with the protection of personal data. Concluding her speech, Ms. Gazi raised the concern and the need for the adoption of guidelines and national implementation of the law for the collection and processing of personal and sensitive data while providing humanitarian assistance.

The discussion ended with questions from the participants.

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