Greece, Migration, Refugees, European Union

Greece, Migration

Why Greece’s expensive new migrant camps are outraging NGOs

Why Greece’s expensive new migrant camps are outraging NGOs

9/19/2021 7:39:00 AM

Why Greece ’s expensive new migrant camps are outraging NGOs

The €38m asylum seeker centre on Samos – the first of five – has restaurants and air-conditioning but it’s like a prison, say critics

.Behind their modern sheen lurks menace, opponents say, citing the dramatic restrictions that will be imposed on the movement of people inside the facilities.When the Samos camp takes in its first residents on Monday, new arrivals will be required to spend up to 25 days indoors as their documents are examined, while deportees whose asylum requests have been rejected will be held in a “closed” pre-detention area.

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On Friday Médecins Sans Frontières called the installation a disgrace, describing it as a dystopian nightmare. “How audacious that while we see what’s happening in countries like Afghanistan, the EU and Greece are busy inaugurating a new prison for asylum seekers on Samos,” said Wieland, the group’s resident field coordinator. “This is the perfect illustration of how criminal the EU policy on migration is – holding and detaining people are who escaping violence and punishing them for wanting to be safe. It is a disgrace.”

About 500 men, women and children are about to be moved into the camp from a facility on the outer edge of Vathy, the island’s town.At the height of the crisis, the older camp housed about 9,000 people although it was designed to accommodate no more than 680 – overcrowding that spurred exasperation and fury among islanders. headtopics.com

Refugee numbers have dropped precipitously on the islands, with the Greek migration ministry this week reporting an 81% decline over the one-year period from August 2020 after concerted efforts to transfer people to the mainland.But while numbers are no longer overwhelming, aid workers worry that for asylum seekers already struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the highly controlled camp is only likely to make things worse.

“It’s hard not to see how their mental health won’t be affected,” said Simone Innico, an aid worker with the grassroots organisation Samos Volunteers. “Being locked up like common criminals when all these people have done is come to Europe seeking refuge and sanctuary can only backfire.”

Logothetis acknowledges the criticism. He said the EU itself had questioned the multilayered fencing surrounding the Samos facility. “But the purpose is to follow the law, and the law says we have to screen them and register them to make sure they don’t have fake [papers] and aren’t terrorists, aren’t a danger and that takes time.”

Europol, alone, usually took five days to screen an applicant, Logothetis said. “It was a step that was missing previously,” he said of the decision to detain asylum seekers. “They could register and the next moment be drinking coffee in the main square because there was no capacity to keep people in.” headtopics.com

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Long before the fall of Kabul ignited fears of a replay of the 2015 refugee crisis, the febrile situation on Greece’s easternmost islands caused headaches for successive governments.A pact reached with Turkey in 2016 played a major role in turning the outposts into vastly overcrowded buffer zones. Although aimed at stemming migrant flows, the accord stipulated that asylum seekers who made often perilous sea journeys from the Turkish coast would have to remain on the isles until their asylum applications were processed.

Alarmed by Ankara’s actions last year when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced he was opening the gates to Europe, sending thousands of migrants to the Greek frontier, the prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ centre-right administration has toughened its stance: reinforcing border patrols, completing a

40km-long steel wallalong the land frontier that Greece shares with Turkey, and, rights groups claim, resorting to controversial “pushbacks” of people attempting to access Greek territory – actions Athens has fiercely denied.More recently it has begun using sound cannon – long-range acoustic devices, capable of firing bursts of deafening noise – to deter migrants along the land frontier.

The migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, argues the policies have “turned an uncontrollable crisis into a manageable situation”.Logothetis said: “We all have different audiences, different narratives. In Greece people are very tired with this refugee story and they blame us for making centres that are so big. Others complain that they’re small and the fencing is too severe but we have to be prepared. We have to have a contingency plan and be ready for the next emergency.” headtopics.com

Read more: The Guardian »

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I’m confused. Does no longer require journalists to use accurate information in their articles? This camp has 0 restaurants (not 8), 1 playground (not 3), devoid of safe spaces. €38mil spent? Last time I checked NGOs were asked to provide bedsheets, pots and pans. This is the right and only way to handle this. We dont need any more isis ppl here roaming free, killing ppl. If you have your phone, but not your id papers, there is something badly wrong....

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