Thursday, 14 November 2019

Greece: Migrant camps 'on edge of catastrophe', EU watchdog says

Thousands of people living in "abysmal" refugee camps on two Greek islands are "on the edge of catastrophe", Europe's human rights watchdog has said.

Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke of an "explosive situation" on the Aegean islands, home to 36,000 asylum seekers.

Hours later, Greece's parliament passed a bill to fast track deportations.

The prime minister said refugees would be protected but Greece's gates would not be thrown open to everyone.

The left-wing opposition has criticised the law and some humanitarian groups, including United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, have warned it could restrict protection for asylum seekers.

But centre-right Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the move would deter those not entitled to asylum, telling parliament: "Enough is enough."

Why have migrants returned to Greece?
Nearly one million migrants refugees, including many fleeing war in Syria, crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands in 2015. Turkey agreed a financial deal with the EU to curb the influx but is still hosting 3.6 million Syrians.

In recent months the numbers have surged and all the camps on the Greek islands are filled beyond capacity.

Ms Mijatovic visited reception facilities on the islands of Lesbos and Samos. Lesbos has a capacity of 2,840 but is currently housing 16,924 immigrants, many of them in the cramped Moria camp.

UN urges Greece to act as refugee camp reaches 'boiling point'
Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee camp
Greece sends ship to house 1,000 migrants after Moria fire
What did the commissioner say?
In a scathing assessment, Ms Mijatovic said: "The situation of migrants, including asylum seekers, in the Greek Aegean islands has dramatically worsened over the past 12 months. Urgent measures are needed to address the desperate conditions in which thousands of human beings are living."

She described the camps as "vastly overcrowded" places where people "queue for hours to get food and to go to bathrooms, when these are available".

The camp in Samos was so overcrowded, families were "chipping away at rocks to make some space on steep hillsides".

"This no longer has anything to do with the reception of asylum seekers," Ms Mijatovic said. "This has become a struggle for survival."

Ms Mijatovic said if the "abysmal conditions" were not improved urgently, there was a risk of "further tragic events".

Last month, a woman was killed when a fire broke out in the centre of the Moria reception centre. Seven people died in September when a dinghy carrying migrants capsized between Turkey and the Greek island of Chios.

What's the new asylum legislation?
The controversial asylum law, introduced by Greece's New Democracy government, aims to curb the rising number of migrants arriving on Greece's shores.

The government said the new legislation would speed up and streamline the asylum process and the deportation of illegal migrants.

Mr Mitsotakis, who took office in July, has taken a much tougher stance against migrants and asylum seekers than his left-wing predecessor, Alexis Tsipras.

While Mr Tsipras condemned the bill, the prime minister told parliament the law sent a clear message that those who were not entitled to asylum would be sent back.

Read 11 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Login to post comments
General election 2019: Labour
Labour has promised "investment on a scale never seen
Impeachment inquiry: Trump
A senior US diplomat has testified that the Trump
Milwaukee man charged with
Police in Wisconsin have charged a man with a hate crime
Europe migrant crisis: French
French police have evacuated about 1,600 migrants from two
Schiphol airport: Pilot
A pilot on a plane has accidentally set off a hijack alarm
General election 2019: Farage
Nigel Farage has called on Boris Johnson to drop his Brexit
Trump switches permanent
US President Donald Trump has announced he will make
Greece: Migrant camps 'on
Thousands of people living in "abysmal" refugee camps on

Features


cache/resized/42ad9aebc0ade9bb1e09d84bdbde68f2.jpg
A man has been
cache/resized/f581ce10554be9d86c5e1bdbb21518bf.jpg
Researchers say
cache/resized/0a665575691932a2d0ffe8e0f3d1a88f.jpg
A law introducing
cache/resized/bdf1c5362e4a36745bbd1d9da16809f1.jpg
US scientists are
cache/resized/d8402c0a2a72bd474b938d6ac8d61dc4.jpg
The Yazidi

Hot News

Featured photos and videos

cache/resized/c749e5efaa502f727abb5194302ed73f.jpg
Iran has cancelled the accreditation of an
cache/resized/285dece3b10c4f776b54f009517eff4d.jpg
A senior US diplomat has testified that the Trump
cache/resized/a387bb9950686126992364268892dd63.jpg
Police in Wisconsin have charged a man with a
cache/resized/9358ece9e44362ee94fdf54e8dae0f04.jpg
Iran is winning the strategic struggle for
cache/resized/4a5853d451f4ec224796f1099ee5abbc.jpg
French police have evacuated about 1,600 migrants
cache/resized/dfe80b6d2529be764ecf85c9ee686cd1.jpg
A pilot on a plane has accidentally set off a
cache/resized/68d96f8f724cb546aeb59a00b3fa01fc.jpg
At least three people were reportedly shot dead
cache/resized/29ed4f24187bf474060b5e85470d67e5.jpg
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded not guilty to fresh
Template Settings

Color

For each color, the params below will give default values
Black Blue Brow Green Cyan

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Layout Style
Select menu
Google Font
Body Font-size
Body Font-family