Litigation Initiatives Against Inhuman and Degrading Treatment in Hotspot camps

Since 2021, LCL has submitted 19 emergency petitions requesting interim measures to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in representation of residents of Lesvos’ Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) who had been denied access to vital medical services. In each of these cases, LCL’s decision to seek redress before the ECtHR followed months of inaction by the Greek authorities and camp management, who are responsible for the identification and transfer of people with specific medical needs to appropriate accommodation and to locations where they can access treatment. In most cases the denial of medical care was due to the individuals’ lack of legal status in Greece, since as a policy, people without legal status are both denied public health care and prohibited from leaving the island. These clients of the LCL had seen their health deteriorate while forcibly kept in the dehumanising and deplorable conditions of the Lesvos RICs (first in Moria and then Kara Tepe), confined to the island of Lesvos where in any case medical services are limited. 

In 18 out of the 19 cases filed, either the ECtHR granted the petitions (recognising an imminent risk of serious harm) or the Greek state took steps to transfer the individuals to mainland Greece following the filing of the emergency petition, rendering the petitions moot. In the 16 cases in which interim measures were granted, in ordering Greece to guarantee access to healthcare and living conditions compatible with Article 3 of the ECHR, the Court confirmed the principle that a person’s legal status cannot obstruct access to the fundamental right to health. 

In several cases, the Greek government demonstrated a complete disregard of the Applicants’ need for medical care even after the Court granted interim measures.  Seven of the above cases are currently being examined by the ECtHR to determine if Greece committed violations of the European Convention on Human Rights:

  • A.M. v. Greece, Case No. 12462/21, communicated to Greece on 15 December 2021
  • H.A. v. Greece, Case No. 12845/21, communicated to Greece on 15 December 2021
  • L.A. v Greece, Case No. 33429/21, communicated to Greece on 15 December 2021
  • A.M. v. Greece, Case No. 40408/21, communicated to Greece on 10 April 2024 
  • K.A. v. Greece, Case No. 44166/21, communicated to Greece on 23 May 2024
  • M.H. v. Greece, Case No. 42427/21, communicated to Greece on 27 May 2024
  • A.R. and F.R. v. Greece, Case No. 39978/21, communicated to Greece on 30 May 2024
Further information
26 August 2021 Legal Centre Lesvos, European Court of Human Rights recognises Greek authorities’ persistent disregard for migrants’ health and lives in Mavrovouni camp
17 March 2021Legal Centre Lesvos, Greek Government Instructed By European Court Of Human Rights To Guarantee Rights Of 3 LCL Clients: An Indictment Of Reception Conditions In Lesvos
17 February 2021 Legal Centre Lesvos, Greek authorities must urgently transfer ‘vulnerable’ migrants to the mainland in accordance with their own laws: LCL submits complaint to the Greek ombudsman urging action on behalf of 21 individuals and families.