Refugee Welfare in Greece: Towards a Remodelling of the Responsibility-Shifting Paradigm?
Critical Social Policy Vol. 22(3), 436-455
10 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 1, 2002
The article shows that Greece has, until now, applied in effect a refugee responsibility-shifting policy that has resulted in the resettlement of refugees from Greece in industrialized states. The responsibility for refugee welfare has rested with Greek and international NGOs since the mid-1990s. The backwardness of the Greek state welfare mechanism is a side effect of the poor general welfare regime of this South European country. It is, however, also closely linked to the small numbers of asylum seekers (as distinct from illegal immigrants) arriving in Greece's territory, as well as to the low profile that NGOs, including UNHCR, have kept. This situation has not contributed to a rise in public awareness or to the exercise of effective pressure upon the state mechanism so that the latter lives up to its responsibilities vis-à-vis forced migrants in need of effective protection. The author emphasizes the need for the Greek refugee welfare regime to be radically revamped and to be based on a clear, long-term policy in accordance with contemporary international and European standards and the relevant responsibilities of the Greek state.
Keywords: asylum, refugee rights, social protection, welfare deficits
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