Greece UN refugee agency concerned at possible problems in asylum procedures

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“Although, on the face of it, Greece has one of the more liberal asylum systems in Europe, its current recognition rate ranks as one of the lowest, despite the fact that the main groups of asylum seekers come from countries that are well-known producers of refugees, such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).Less than half of 1 per cent of all asylum seekers were granted refugee status so far this year, compared with 11.2 per cent in 2001. Last year, the total recognition rate, including those granted humanitarian protection status, was 22.4 per cent – against just 1 per cent this year.By comparison, the average recognition rates across the European Union last year were 15.8 per cent receiving refugee status – a figure which rises to 26.9 per cent when including those given humanitarian status.“The disparity between Greece and most other European countries is thrown into even more stark relief when one looks at the recognition rate for the largest single group – namely Iraqis,” Mr. Janowski said, noting that the average recognition rate for Iraqis in Greece is almost 100 times lower than the most recent European Union average.

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