Situation in Northern Greece

At the end of 2021 in Northern Greece

asylum applications pending
asylum seekers stranded
detention centers

Maps of camps, detention centers and RIC in Northern Greece

Datas from November 2021
( unless mentioned otherwise) 


IOM Site Factsheets, November 2021

Refugee Support Aegan

Structural shortage of legal assistance in Greece

  • What is happening in Greece?

Since 2015, Greece has been one of the first points of entry into the European Union for thousands of exiles fleeing persecutions.To date, around 70,000 asylum applications are pending before the Greek authorities.

During the long and very complex asylum procedure, the assistance of a lawyer is essential. The right to the assistance of a lawyer is also a right guaranteed, both by international texts and by Greek legislation: “During the procedure, you have the right to request the assistance of a lawyer” (source: Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum website).

Of all the daily challenges faced by asylum seekers and migrants living in Greece, legal aid is one of the most immediate and pressing. The Greek Asylum Service is overstretched. With no state funded legal aid scheme for asylum seekers and a handful of non-profits providing pro-bono legal help, asylum seekers are left in limbo with little to no support.

  • And in Thessaloniki ?

Northern Greece is no exception, with thousands of exiles stranded in and near Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city after Athens. There are more than 15 refugee camps in the surrounding area, to which can be added the thousands of asylum seekers accommodated by international organizations. All of them survive in a very precarious situation. Despite the gravity of the situation, the region suffers from the gradual disengagement of the few actors active on the field and from a structural shortage of legal aid. Only a handful of non profits, NGOs and pro bono lawyers are active in northern Greece and providing free legal advice to the exiles.

The need for legal assistance in Thessaloniki and its surroundings is considerable and urgent. The area is facing a significant and structural shortage of legal assistance. The asylum procedure being extremely complex, this lack of legal aid is detrimental to the exercise of the right to asylum.