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Frontpage News 2012 Asylum-seekers in Greece to be offered a dignified return home

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Asylum-seekers in Greece to be offered a dignified return home

Today the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway regarding an asylum-project in Greece. The project will provide asylum seekers support in voluntarily returning to their home countries.

Soon IOM in Greece will be able to offer asylum-seekers in the country a dignified return home. The agreement between the IOM and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway makes it possible for the organisation to assist up to 700 more asylum-seekers in Greece than would have been the case otherwise.

IOM Greece already has a waiting list of people who would like to participate in the voluntary return programme. On the list are both people who have been refused asylum or abandoned their request as well as irregular migrants. For decades, the IOM has assisted asylum-seekers seeking to return voluntarily.

Greece was traditionally one of the most important emigration countries. However, since the 1990s, the country has become one of the main gateways to Europe for hundreds of thousands of people seeking international protection or simply a better way of life. Because of this sharp increase in the number of immigrants, the asylum and migration sector will get the biggest share of the total allocation in the current funding period, receiving more than €20 million of the total allocation of about €63 million.

The IOM-run project on assisted voluntary return is one of a number of projects which will be implemented in the asylum and migration sector in the current funding period. Among the planned activities are registration of people who wish to return voluntarily, as well as the provision of information and counselling. The project also aims to improve the capacity at Greek border crossings and will enable IOM in Greece to staff three reception centres on the Greek border. These centres will provide information on the possibility of voluntary return to people that are in Greece illegally When possible, the project will also aim to help victims of trafficking.