Symbiosis in cooperation with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Greece, refugee and asylum seekers communities and othe organizations, organized the 2013 World Refugee Day in Thessaloniki.
In the framework of Symbiosis’s integration programme and campaign on refugee and asylum seeker rights, the event was organized to raise citizens’ awareness on the issues of racism and xenophobia, and, most importantly, to give a voice to refugees and asylum seekers themselves.
In June 2013, 50,000 asylum seekers across Greece were waiting for their asylum to be examined, a process which often lasts for over ten years. There is a severe lack of adequate reception conditions for asylum seekers and refugees, while in the main urban centres the reception centres for refugees and asylum seekers have been largely abandoned by the state and are collapsing by the day. Living conditions are atrocious; buildings are dilapidated while, in practice there are scarce provisions for legal aid and social care.