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Aid group slams conditions in migrant centers

Aid group slams conditions in migrant centers

Illegal immigrants are being held in "inhumane" conditions in severely overcrowded detention centers in northeastern Greece, an international medical aid group said Friday.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, said its assessment of two detention centers and three border police stations in the Evros region near Greece's northeastern border with Turkey "documented the harsh and inhumane conditions in which detained migrants are being kept."
The facilities were two or three times above capacity, with the lack of space so severe that some people were forced to sleep on the floor by the toilets, the group said in a statement, which also called on authorities to take immediate action to improve the situation.
Greece is the busiest transit point for illegal immigration in the European Union. Nine out of every 10 illegal migrants detained in the European Union are caught in Greece. The country has said it cannot cope with the sheer numbers of people crossing its border with Turkey.
"The influx of irregular migrants entering daily Greece is extremely high (150 to 350 persons) and far exceeds the capacity of the reception facilities of the country," the Civil Protection Ministry said in a statement when asked for a response to the MSF comments.
The ministry said authorities were "doing their best to handle this extremely difficult situation with full respect to human rights and paying maximum attention to ensure protection with regard to vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors."
Greece recently sought emergency help from the EU's border protection agency, Frontex, which deployed rapid intervention teams to the Evros area last month.
"The situation is critical for all the people who have been detained," MSF emergency coordinator Ioanna Pertsinidou said in the group's statement.
The group called on the government to "immediately implement measures providing for the reception of asylum seekers and migrants under conditions which respect their human dignity," while also urging the EU and its member states "to share the responsibility of receiving asylum seekers and migrants, rather than focusing on restrictive measures, such as the deployment of Frontex."
The civil protection ministry said that the government has "expressed strong political will to radically change the situation and is in the process of reshaping the whole system which concerns irregular migrants including screening and reception, asylum process etc."


Updated : 2021-10-20 20:20 GMT+08:00