Refugee Spaces

A Bartlett Materialisation Grant project

The Cities of Refuge platform aims to stimulate and demystify, through substantiated assessments, the ways in which the current refugee wave has been represented in Europe, particularly by bridging insular experiences into a wider continental dialogue.

Introduction

Introduction

Despite numerous migrant waves through the decades, the current influx of refugees and asylum seekers into Europe has been framed by very specific narratives. From humanitarian calls for action to warnings of impending collapse, Europe thinks of itself under a crisis, at a political breaking point that justifies extreme discourses and measures.

The Refugee Spaces data project aims to stimulate and demystify the phenomena through examining the evidence rather than speculating on the so-called crisis. Through mapping and analysis of the openly available data provided by institutional and governmental sources, the platform attempts to spatialise the political and security measures designed to contain migration and the mobility of refugees.

We understand that migration and refuge are in a permanent state of flux, so this platform can only represent a snapshot of a specific period, in part constrained by reliability and availability of the data. Since we started this project, migration has played a more influential impact on political issues across Europe and the rest of the world, becoming sometimes the centrepiece of polarising campaigns and radical partisanship.

Brexit, the surprising success of populist agendas in some important national elections across Europe and elsewhere are just a few examples of how migratory issues have been used, and manipulated, for radical change. Security borders and sovereign intromission have expanded to Africa and Asia; the policing of the Mediterranean is now an established security regime; and humanitarian initiatives, to help refugees in peril, have been often criminalised.

In the following maps, the project shows a cartographical analysis of spatial responses and the administrative infrastructure brought by migration and refugees, stressing on the territorial relationships that associate mass movement with urban hotspots in four selected countries: France, Germany, Greece and Italy. Further countries can be added to the platform in the future. At the urban scale, the project identifies urban clusters/regions that are integral to current migration influxes, exploring their different strategies for reception and control.

Refugee Spaces has been funded by the 2016 Bartlett (UCL) Materialisation Grant. The project is a collaboration between the Development Planning Unit (DPU), Space Syntax Laboratory (the Bartlett School of Architecture), and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). The information presented on this platform is not intended to be a conclusion, but a departing point to track the spatial and economic impact of migration on European territories. We hope and anticipate that the output of this project could be used as a base for further research and collaborative work on European refugee and migration phenomena in future.“ The report, available to download, contains reflections and preliminary work done in preparation of the platform.

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Team

This project was created through a collaboration between the Development Planning Unit (DPU), Bartlett School of Architecture (BSA), and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London. The project was funded through a Bartlett Materialisation Grant.

The project team included Camillo Boano, Giovanna Astolfo, Ricardo Marten, Falli Palaiologou, Keyvan Karimi, and Ed Manley, with Gala Nettelbladt, Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami and Asimina Paraskevopoulou.

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In Greece, and especially in the two main cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, finding shelter and accommodation for refugees in dignified housing (collectives, apartments, etc) has been render crucial. The NRC report for Thessaloniki offers comprehensive information on the development of an urban house scheme process in an effort to respond to the challenges that cities face. In several cases squatting and occupation of buildings, those most of the time supported by the Greek anarchist movement, have provided shelter for persons in the main urban areas of the city, allowing for access both to services, transportation, as well as educational and language lessons, in order to promote integration (for a list of squats in Athens last updated in June 2016 please follow: Several squats since 2016 have either closed, been evacuated or failed to adhere to their goals. One of the squats in Athens, however, that has been publicized widely as a successful squatting collective and best practice, is the “Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza”.

Description of the Map

The map shows centres’ location - urban or rural - for year 2017, based on Eurostat classification of spatial units:

  • ‘cities and greater cities’
  • ‘functional urban areas’
  • and remaining centres as rural areas.

The location is approximate, showing the town where the centre is located. For the Eurostat classification of spatial units see here.

References and sources:

  • https://www.nrc.no/resources/reports/study-on-adequate-urban-housing-for-refugees-in-thessaloniki/]
  • http://moving-europe.org/24-06-2016-refugee-squats-in-athens/
  • http://solidarity2refugees.gr/support-city-plaza-refugee-accommodation-solidarity-center-athens-greece/).

As of January 2017, 64 reception facilities run by Ministry of Migration Policy, Ministry of Defence, Hellenic Army and Hellenic Navy and supported by NGOs provided a total 1896 places dedicated to asylum seekers under the coordination of the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA). The vast majority of the spaces were dedicated to unaccompanied minors, that as of January 2017 were either accommodated in long-term and transit shelters, some were in closed reception facilities (RIC), while some were detained in police stations (protective custody). The reception capacity was increased due to the Accommodation for Relocation Project (UNHCR in cooperation with municipalities and other NGOs) since additional 20000 accommodation places were made gradually available, dedicated initially to relocation candidates and since July 2016 extended to Dublin family reunification candidates and applicants belonging to vulnerable groups. The reception capacity of the 64 reception facilities was enhanced by the creation of temporary accommodation sites (mainly in the mainland).

The reception centers (hotspots) on the islands, accommodate individuals subject to the EU-Turkey statement. Most of them suffer from overcrowding, insufficient security and tensions between nationalities.

Description of the map

The map shows centres’ capacity for year 2017. Where the value is ‘0’ data is not available.

References and sources

  • http://www.unhcr.gr/sites/
  • http://rrsesmi.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=d5f377f7f6f2418b8ebadaae638df2e1
  • http://geochoros.survey.ntua.gr/ekepy/

In 2015, Greece experienced unprecedented migratory flow, since a shift in the migration route was observed coming to Greece through Turkey. This resulted in the creation of new centers (reception, detention and host facilities) both in the islands and mainland of Greece. According to UNHCR profiling of sites as of January 2017 the operating centers in Greece were 54. However, the number of operating centers (those including Reception and Identification Centers RIC, Transit sites and Emergency Response Sites) has been varying and changing due to the temporality of the sites’ operational status. As of 21 February 2017 and according to data published by the Coordination Body for the Management of Refugee Crisis, the number of Temporary Refugee Accommodation sites to the whole Greece was 32 (excluding RIC, transit sites and detention centers).

  • Reception and Identification Centers (RICs), operating in the islands, and also closed reception facilities: In RICs fast-track border procedure apples to arrivals after 20 March 2016, in order for the entire asylum registration procedure to be completed within 14 days).
  • Screening reception centers: Operated by the police, but have a mobile unit of First Reception Service that register non-citizens and make referrals
  • First reception centers (KEPY): are run by the First Reception Service and are used for detention of up to 25 days.
  • Temporary Accommodation Sites (Emergency Response Sites and Collective Shelters), mainly operating in the mainland of Greece: These sites in the Ministry of Migration Policy are defined as temporary and permanent. Temporary sites are planned to be operating for a short period of time. The permanent sites are planned to be operating for a longer period of time with an end goal of all sites to have closed by end of 2018.
  • Transit Sites, operating in the island of Lesvos: Transit sites are the ones that a person might stay upon first arrival, prior to transfer to RIC site).
  • Accommodation Site for Asylum Seekers, operating in Attica region: Lavrio Accommodation Facility for Asylum Seekers, established in 1947 is the only one not considered temporary Accommodation Facility.
  • Pre-removal Detention Facilities: These facilities are operated by the Police. Asylum seekers are also detained in pre-removal detention centers together with third-country nationals under removal procedures. Pre-removal detention facilities, although operational since 2012, were officially established through Ministerial Decision of January 2015.

Description of the map

The map shows centres’ typology in English, for year 2017. The location is approximate.

References and sources

  • Global Detention Project, Greece Immigration Detention. Available at: [https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/greece#gdp-detention-infrastructure] Aida Asylum Information Database, “Country Report: Greece”, pg. 98. Available at: http://www.gcr.gr/index.php/el/news/press-releases-announcements/item/649-aida-greece-country-report-2016 , accessed on 14.06.2017.
  • http://www.unhcr.gr/sites/
  • http://rrsesmi.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=d5f377f7f6f2418b8ebadaae638df2e1
  • http://geochoros.survey.ntua.gr/ekepy/

Accommodation Facilities (site level)

  • Site Management: Ministry of Migration Policy or Hellenic Navy or Ministry of Defence or Hellenic Army (site management therefore is under official Governmental Authorities, that should have daily presence on site. Site Management is responsible for persons registration, allocation of accommodation within the site, etc.)
  • Site Management Support: this is the role of other actors, mainly iNGOs, such as NRC, DRC, IFRC, IRC, IOM, Oxfam, till recently UNHCR (that now is driving under the coordination and supervision of MoMP the urbanization process), with the support of the European Commision-Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).

Other supporting activities on site

Other actors, either local or international NGOs provide supporting facilities at the sites, such as health care, protection, legal aid services, children activities, informal education, such as Hellenic Red Cross, Solidarity Now, Praksis, Metadrasi, Save the Children, GCR, Elpida Home, British Council, and others. At the same, the Ministry of Education in several camps (i.e. Skaramagkas, Rafina) will start at providing formal education to the children of adequate age that are registered.

Description of the map

The map shows information on centres’ governance, for year 2017.

Greece as a first country of entry pursuant to the Dublin Regulation (EU Regulation No. 604/2013) and due to its geographic location has experienced a large number of migrants attempting to enter the EU. The European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the EU in 2011 “found that Greece’s asylum system suffers from ‘systemic deficiencies’, including lack of reception centers, poor detention conditions, and the lack of an effective remedy.” The Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection submitted to plans to the European Commission and the Council of the EU, in order to address the above ‘systemic deficiencies’ related to asylum, including actions for creating first-reception centers, establishing screening procedures, addressing detention conditions, and improving facilities for families with children and vulnerable groups.

In 2011, the adoption of the Law 3907/2011 was achieved as part of the first Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management (submitted in 2010).

  • First Reception Service was created. The First Reception Service aims at integrated management of irregular migrants through screening procedures, to register them, to provide medical and psychological support, to inform on obligations and rights (especially on the right to asylum and international protection).
  • Asylum Service was established, composed of a Central Office located in the capital Athens and regional asylum offices. The Asylum Service operation was established with the cooperation of UNHCR and EASO. The Regional Asylum Office of Attica started its operation and the reformed asylum-procedure as of June 2013.
  • Appeals Authority was created. The Appeals Authority aims at applying the national legislation and to abide by the country’s international obligations regarding the recognition of refugee status and granting international protection to third-country nationals who have fled their country due to fear of being persecuted for the reasons specifies in the 1951 Gevena Convention, or to reasons justifying subsidiary or temporary protection.

Additional laws that formulate the current legal framework in Greece, for on site operation of the Centers include:

  • The Ministerial Decision No. 7001/2/1454-η of 26th January 2012: General Regulation on the operation of First Reception regional services.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. 11.1/6343 of 9th December 2014 (3295/2014): General Regulation in the operation of Accommodation Facilities for third-country nationals which operate under the provision of the First Reception Service.
  • Since August 2012, patterns of arrivals and entry into the European Union have shifted from the Greek-Turkish land borders to the sea borders. Official statistics approximately 3223 persons were arrested for illegal entry in Lesvos, Samos, Chios and generally the Dodecanese region, only during the first five months of 2013, showing a significant increase to arrivals at the islands when compared to 188 persons arrested at the islands for the same period in 2012. While the number of arrests was increased in the islands, the same number was significantly decreasing at the Evros region highlight the aforementioned shift and raised the concerns on the dangerous passage of persons arriving by the sea which has been marked by deaths.

  • Law No. 3907/2011 on Establishing an Asylum Service, First Line Reception Office, and Harmonization with Directive 2008/115/EC on Common Standards and Procedures for the Return of Illegally Staying Third-Country Nationals and Other Provisions arts. 1, 6, 7, E.K.E.D., Jan. 26, 2011, A:7, http://www.et.gr/index.php/2013-01-28-14-06-23/search-laws (in Greek), archived at https://perma.cc/QTL6-YLQR.
  • Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, Greek Action Plan on Asylum and Migration Management, Executive Summary (Dec. 2012), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/libe/dv/p4_exec_summary_/p4_exec_summary_en.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/Z85E-89ZF.
  • UNHCR, June 2013. Current Issues of Refugee Protection in Greece. Available at: https://www.unhcr.gr/fileadmin/Greece/News/2013/PCjuly/Greece_Positions_July_2013_EN.pdf [Accessed 20 December 2016].
  • UNHCR, Greece Site Profiles, April 2016. Available at: [https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/47624]
  • UNHCR, Greece Site Profiles, June 2017. Available at: [https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/58471].
  • http://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/focaal/2017/77/focaal770104.xml
  • https://www.irinnews.org/maps-and-graphics/2017/03/15/us-funding-un-charts
  • https://www.nrc.no/resources/reports/study-on-adequate-urban-housing-for-refugees-in-thessaloniki/
  • https://www.nomos-elibrary.de/10.5771/9783845279596-88/greece-report
  • https://www.elgaronline.com/view/9781785361944.xml
  • https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/03/06/the-refugee-archipelago-the-inside-story-of-what-went-wrong-in-greece
  • http://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/focaal/2017/77/focaal770104.xml
  • http://www.nature.com/news/what-the-numbers-say-about-refugees-1.21548
  • http://wots.eu/2017/04/05/migrazioni-voci-bilancio-costi-umani/
  • http://operaviva.info/la-condanna-di-avere-un-corpo/
  • http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/03/as-refugees-resettle-across-europe-four-news-organizations-partner-to-tell-the-still-unfolding-stories-of-integration/
  • http://stranieriinitalia.it/attualita/attualita/attualita-sp-754/flussi-2017-ecco-il-testo-del-decreto-e-le-istruzioni-per-le-domande.html?platform=hootsuite
  • http://www.internazionale.it/video/2017/04/04/casa-di-alioune-rifugio-migranti
  • http://viedifuga.org/cie-crp-nuovi-nomi-vecchie-storie/

During the unprecedented influx in summer 2015 and beginning of 2016, a systemic recording, reporting and monitoring of site profiles was difficult. This has to do with the fact that not only several emergency response sites opened so as to meet the increasing needs of refugees and migrant accommodation, first reception services, but also in most cases the sites operated under poor conditions, quality of services provided, extreme density conditions (overcrowding), as well as limited capacity and number of staff on the ground. During the same period, and due to the lack of available spaces for accommodation of new arrivals several informal sites and settlements were established in strategic locations in Greece (Idomeni camp and EKO Gas station/Polykastro in Northen Greece, Pireus Port and Victoria Square in Athens), which operated for short period and reporting of capacity was rendered impossible. The above settlements were established during the time of closure of the Greek border in Macedonia (March 2016), which compelled an additional challenge at the Greek state. According to the Amnesty International Annual Report Greece of 2016-2017, the camps, most of the official ones providing tented shelter, or established in abandoned warehouses, poor building facilities, non-operating summer-camp facilities, far from hospitals and other services hosted around 20000.

Therefore, from the research conducted it appears the documentation has been more comprehensive and systematic by mid 2016 till present, that the informal sites (evacuated in May 2016) and poor condition temporary facilities (such as Elliniko I, II, III camps evacuated in June 2017) have closed and the situation can be considered more stable. As a result, documenting operational centers for the year of 2015 was considered inappropriate for the Greek case and the decision was made to map centers at the beginning of 2017, that public data were available in a further extend, and the situation presented.

Data Download

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