H.A. and Others v Greece
The ECtHR ruled on detention of unaccompanied minors in Greece.
The case concerned the placement of nine migrants, unaccompanied minors, in different police stations in Greece, for periods ranging between 21 and 33 days. The migrants were subsequently transferred to the Diavata reception centre and then to special facilities for minors. The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the conditions of the applicants’ detention in the police stations; no violation of Article 3 as regards the living conditions in the Diavata centre; a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3; a violation of Article 5 §§ 1 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of a detention measure). The Court found, first, that the detention conditions to which the applicants had been subjected in the various police stations represented degrading treatment, and explained that detention on those premises could have caused them to feel isolated from the outside world, with potentially negative consequences for their physical and moral well-being. The Court also held that the living conditions in the Diavata centre, which had a safe zone for unaccompanied minors, had not exceeded the threshold of seriousness required to engage Article 3. It further took the view that the applicants had not had an effective remedy. Secondly, the Court found that the applicants’ placement in border posts and police stations could be regarded as a deprivation of liberty which was not lawful within the meaning of Article 5 § 1. The Court also noted that the applicants had spent several weeks in police stations before the National Service of Social Solidarity (“EKKA”) recommended their placement in reception centres for unaccompanied minors; and that the public prosecutor at the Criminal Court, who was their statutory guardian, had not put them in contact with a lawyer and had not lodged an appeal on their behalf for the purpose of discontinuing their detention in the police stations in order to speed up their transfer to the appropriate facilities.
Detention/ Alternatives to Detention; Reception/Accommodation; Unaccompanied minors; Vulnerable Group;
ECHR Press Release
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECHR], H.A. and Others v Greece, Application no 19951/16, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2019:0228JUD001995116, 28 February 2019. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.