This database is built on Uwazi, an open-source solution for organising, analysing and publishing documents to make information more easily accessible. It was designed by HURIDOCS.

The material presented in the platform draws on interviews we have conducted with more than 80 people with experience of detention in Greece and extensive literature and policy review. It further brings together research our team members have been conducting since 2011, including interviews with detained women and staff in Petrou Ralli Pre-Removal Detention Centre in 2011, participant observation in detention facilities (2011-2012), a 5-year project (2015-2019) on formal and informal human rights monitoring processes in Greece, which involved visits to multiple sites of detention (Petrou Ralli PRDC, Amygdaleza PRDC, Kos PRDC, Athens Airport holding facility, and Elliniko XX), interviews with NGO workers, policy makers, charitable and volunteer workers, activists, and journalists (2018-2020), as well as a partnership between the University of Oxford and the Border Violence Monitoring Network and Mobile Info Team since 2021. The research and database is funded by the ESRC-IAA, Open Society Foundations and the Wellcome Trust and has received ethical clearance from the University of Oxford’s Research Ethics Committee.


The collection of data is done through a consortium of field reporters and researchers who are members of various organisations in Greece and abroad. Interviews are semi-structured, through standardised, open-ended questions, and designed to enable the conversation to be guided by the respondents' experiences. Interviews last between one and two hours. Before the interview each participant is informed about the research and its future uses. Interviews that cannot be conducted in English, are conducted with an interpreter in a language the interviewee understands. Interviewees are reminded that their participation is entirely voluntary, and that they may drop out at any moment, for any reason, or refuse to answer any question(s) without needing to explain why. Testimonies are taken on the prior understanding that they will not help an individual’s case. In most cases, oral consent is received, recorded on a digital recorder before the start of the interview, or marked in a fieldnote, if not recorded.

The accuracy and consistency of testimonies is crucial and therefore strict training, interview templates and guidelines are provided to reporters. Reporters are trained to conduct interviews that capture specific details, for example, characteristics of detention staff uniforms, in order to generate verifiable data. Leading questions are avoided, although some questions may be rephrased, with the support of an interpreter, in order to ensure clarity and total understanding.

Interviews are conducted both over the phone and in-person, at community centres that provide specific services. Carrying out interviews over the phone can result in respondents feeling safer to share their experiences. Upon transcription of the interviews, all personal information is redacted and no personal data are retained from interviews in order to protect the identity of individuals, many of whom remain in precarious situations. Each testimony is assigned a unique ID number. When names of people are mentioned in the narratives and profiles of the centres, they are all pseudonyms. The full testimony is not provided to protect the identity of individuals. Instead, summary reports, including some direct quotes, were generated from each testimony, as well as quantitative data are provided for statistical analysis.

Assembling the site profiles and library

All centres that appear on the map are either official facilities, where migrants may be detained, or have been identified in the testimonies and in other reports. This may include sites which are not still operational (like Pagani, the old detention centre on Lesvos). Their locations have been verified. Drawing on extensive research and the collection of testimonies, we have assembled, indexed and presented publicly available information relevant to the site profiles that populate the map. Similar to the testimony database, the process of assembling the site profiles is an ongoing one. The distribution of data is not equally spread among each detention centre due to logistical and geographical constraints in the research process. As such, there is more in-depth information on some detention sites than others. Centres which do not include a full profile are either assigned to an expert in the field or remain under construction. To verify detainee reports of conditions, specific events and detention practices, we have reached out to many local actors, activists and other organisations. Some of the profiles have been built by them. The site profiles and library include - among others:

  • Information about the sites, including operational information and overviews of material conditions and access to services within detention sites.

  • Grey literature relevant to the detention site and relevant publications of international and national human rights organisations, monitoring bodies, civil society organisations and researchers.

  • Links to media publications concerning conditions and rights violations in detention sites.

  • Audiovisual material.

New documents will be uploaded periodically.


Immigration detention

There is little official clarity over how many people are actually detained in Greece and the sites they are placed in. So, too, it is difficult to demarcate the detention estate. There are seven active pre-removal detention centres in Greece. Six centres on the mainland (Amygdaleza, Petrou Ralli, Corinth, Xanthi, Paranesti, Fylakio) and one on the islands in Kos. According to information provided by the Directorate of the Hellenic Police, the total pre-removal detention capacity was 3,676 places at the end of 2022. Foreign citizens are also detained in closed controlled centres on the islands, numerous police stations and other police buildings, like border guard stations. Throughout 2022, 18,966 people were detained in official facilities and at the end of the year 2,500 people remained in custody. At the end of 2022, the total number of third-country nationals detained in police stations or other facilities countrywide was 517. Furthermore, throughout the year, the total number of unaccompanied children in administrative detention in Pre-Removal Detention Centres and police stations countrywide was 363.

Yet, there is more. In Evros, ad hoc facilities, mainly repurposed wheat warehouses, have been used over the years as spaces for detention. Research has also uncovered semi-official places, like the Poros Facility, which has been employed as an unofficial detention site prior to pushback operations, given the complete absence of any registration of detention. Testimony evidence collected by actors in the field suggests that detention in informal facilities prior to pushbacks is a common practice in the area. Researchers have also spoken about fenced yards, portacabins, warehouses, garages, and even animal pens.

Irrespective of the official term used to describe a facility, their essence as spaces, run by the police, where migrants are deprived of their freedom, usually in detrimental conditions, with ill-treatment by the authorities prevailing, remains common among them. By using the term immigration detention, we refer to the complex, often hidden and remote, formal and informal carceral infrastructure that the Greek state has developed to restrict mobility across its national borders and to regulate the presence of foreigners within its territory. Arguably, the term is quite expansive. The blurred boundaries between reception and detention centres have been widely documented, with de facto detention during reception and identification procedures at the borders being the norm, rather than an exception. In this context, the term immigration detention could include any facility where migrants may be detained.


A report by the World Health Organisation from 2002 defines violence as:

The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. (WHO 2002a: 5)

Drawing on this definition and the collection of testimonies we have created the following typology:

  • Blunt instrument

  • Destruction of personal property

  • Dog attacks

  • Exposure to extreme temperatures and weather

  • Food deprivation

  • Forced medication

  • Forced undressing

  • Gun shots

  • Hate speech

  • Isolation

  • Medical neglect

  • Pepper spray

  • Physical violence

  • Psychological harm

  • Rape

  • Sexual harassment

  • Sharp instrument

  • Strip search

  • Taser/electroshock

  • Tear gas

  • Theft

  • Threats and intimidation

  • Verbal insults

  • Water immersion

List of abbreviations

AIDAAsylum Information Database
APTAssociation for the Prevention of Torture
BCBorder Criminologies
BVMNBorder Violence Monitoring Network
CATEuropean Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
CCACClosed Access Centre
CPTEuropean Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
EBFExternal Borders Fund
ECEuropean Council
ECEuropean Commission
ECHREuropean Convention on Human Rights
ECtHREuropean Court of Human Rights
ECREEuropean Council on Refugees and Exiles
EDWElectric Discharge Weapon
EKEPYNational Centre for Healthcare Management
ERBBEqual Rights Beyond Borders
ERFEuropean Refugee Fund
FRAFundamental Human Rights Agency
GCRGreek Council for Refugees
HRWHuman Rights Watch
HMIPHer Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales
(I)NGOs(International) Non-Governmental Organisations
IRCInternational Rescue Committee
KEERFAMovement against Racism and Fascism
MΕPMember of Parliament
MITMobile Info Team
MPRICMulti-Purpose Reception and Identification Centre
MSFMédecins Sans Frontières
NPMNational Preventive Mechanism
OPCATOptional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
PRDCPre-Removal Detention Centres
RICReception and Identification Centre
RSARefugee Support Aegean
RVRNRacist Violence Recording Network
UNHCRUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Navigating the platform

You can access the data in two ways:

Via the map

Each pin on the map represents a verified location of a facility where migrants may be detained in Greece. If there is a cluster of facilities either zoom in or click on the cluster to see the individual pins. They will appear both on the map and on the right-hand side as links. Click on a pin or link to display a preview of the facility on the right-hand side of the page. Click on view to read the available information on full screen. Testimonies, incidents and images related to each centre appear at the bottom of the page. Relationships to reports, online sources, testimonies, incidents and other facilities appear on the right-hand side. Click on them to display them and review them.

Via the library

The library shows all the available material, including detention facilities, testimonies, incidents, contracts, reports, online sources, photos and videos. You can choose to display them as cards or table views. They also appear on the right-hand side and you can filter through what you want to display on the page. On table view you can sort by the information you are interested in and choose which columns you want to display.

At any point CSV files can be exported.

Warning and disclaimers

The platform is a non-exhaustive and evolutional tool. The information it contains is the result of extensive collaborative research conducted by researchers affiliated with Border Criminologies, Mobile Info Team, and the Border Violence Monitoring Network but it does not claim to reflect the entire body of openly available data on immigration detention in Greece.

The map and underlying database only contain information that we were able to collect and verify. The database is not comprehensive of all events of human rights violations inside immigration detention facilities nor all information about those events.

Interviews were conducted between 2020 and 2024. However, information available in the site profiles draws on research since 2011 and available reports dating back to the early 2000s, and thus, it includes historical evidence too.

Some respondents shared visual data, which was anonymised and verified prior to being used on this platform. Most images are recent but we have also included photos taken by some of the involved researchers in the period 2017-2019. Each image has been marked with a note to indicate the level of graphic content.

We do not publish information that might put any individuals at risk. On occasion, we may delay publication to ensure the safety of those involved.

We draw on testimonies when reporting on events of violence inside facilities, which we try to verify; we are not responsible for claims about events made on online sources that we link to.

Our process for verifying data is rigorous and involves several stages of review. However, if you believe any data to be inaccurate, please email explaining why you think the data is not correct, and we will review the data. You can also provide your feedback on the platform via the Contact us page.

Join our community!

While this is a collaborative effort that draws on extensive research and brings together a wide range of resources, we acknowledge that this is a non-exhaustive and evolutional tool. For this reason, the database seeks to generate a community of users and contributors to make the platform sustainable in the long-run.

We encourage activists, volunteers, migrants and their families and friends, researchers, practitioners, and the wider public to document hidden facilities and practices through our submission form. The information provided will be rigorously reviewed by senior researchers. People can make submissions anonymously if they wish. Moreover, there will soon be a testimony submission form available, in different languages. For now, individuals who have relevant information about human rights violations inside immigration detention facilities in Greece are welcome to contact us and discuss how this information can be included in the platform. Contributors will be able to share their experience in any format, written, audio, or video.


This is an ongoing collaborative project, between Border Criminologies, Mobile Info Team and the Border Violence Monitoring Network.

The Database

Explore the data for this evidence-based platform that documents human rights violations inside immigration detention facilities.