UNHCR Chief’s visit to Lesvos refugee camps “extremely disturbing”

·

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, described his visit to Greece’s refugee camps in Lesvos as “extremely disturbing”.

His account of his visit via social media showed the UNHCR Chief to be particularly moved by his experience, saying the conditions were “unacceptable” and he supports “urgently” moving people (particularly children travelling alone) to the mainland.

His trip to Athens held the intent of discussing improving the situation on the islands with governments, municipalities and civil society, to better integrate recognised refugees into Europe.

Though, he showed a lack of support for the current government’s new legal responses. He noted that “patience and hospitality is now less visible than before”, in regards to Greece’s handling of the crisis.

The current New Democracy government believe the refugee crisis is a response to the previous Syriza government’s “open door policy” toward arrivals. The current government has listed most recent arrivals as “economic migrants” rather than refugees. Under the EU-Turkey deal which was signed in 2016, negotiations were put in place to support Syrian refugees who were considered “asylum seekers”. Now, 95% of refugees to Greece are from Afghanistan, which allows Greece and Turkey to abandon their commitments to the EU-Turkey deal, and not class non-Syrians as asylum seekers, despite the fact that they may well be.

Greece has put plans in place to shut down overcrowded refugee camps on islands like Lesvos, and replace them with “holding centres” to process new arrivals. A holding centre is the equivalent of a detention centre, whereas the “hot spots” currently set up on Lesvos allow asylum seekers to roam freely while they are being processed.

Grandi condemns this decision “I made clear to the government that UNHCR policy is against detaining asylum seekers,” Grandi said.

Greece has called upon the European Union a number of times to assist in a more cohesive plan regarding the refugee and migration crisis.

Grandi also agreed that “Europe has to get its act together”.

The new European Commission President, Usula von der Leyen promised to present a proposal to revamp the EU’s migration policies in 2020.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Mykonos shop owner reflects on Australia, Greece and crystals

Greek Australian, Apostolos Triantafyllou, 56, has been living in Mykonos for over 30 years now, and running his jewellery store 'Amethyst'.

Niki Louca shares her recipe for chicken pie with mushrooms

Niki Louca from My Greek Kitchen shares her favourite recipe for kotopita with manitaria (chicken pie with mushrooms) with The Greek Herald.

Dr Trakakis to give lecture in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis

Dr Nick Trakakis will give a seminar on Thursday, May 30 at the Greek Centre in Melbourne on the late poet Tasos Leivaditis.

Greek Australian artist VASSY receives Billions List award

Greek Australian-bred, singer, songwriter and dance music producer VASSY, has been honoured with the Billions List Award by APRA AMCOS.

Themis Chryssidis to reinvent his acclaimed Adelaide restaurant

Themis Chryssidis is transforming his acclaimed city restaurant, eleven, with a new menu and more affordable prices.

You May Also Like

Nicholas Kapralos on mentoring the next generation of bouzouki players

Nicholas Kapralos talks to The Greek Herald about mentoring the next generation of bouzouki players in Australia.

Hellenism on display at AHEPA NSW Inc’s Greek Independence Day event

Hellenism was on proud display in Rockdale on Friday, March 17 as AHEPA NSW Inc celebrated Greek Independence Day.

Chef Anna Polyviou shares her favourite artefacts from the ‘Open Horizons’ exhibition

Award-winning chef Anna Polyviou shares her favourite artefacts from the 'Open Horizons' exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.