Greece to speed up creation of holding facilities following migrant, resident protests

0
Refugees and migrants are seen at the Moria hot spot on the island of Lesbos on March 16, 2017, almost a year after an EU-Turkey deal. The deal, signed on March 18, 2016, has sought to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU, in particular Greece, by land and sea routes.Some 3000 refugees and migrnts live in the Moria camp , out of some 14000 stucked on the Aegean islands since the closing of the borderss and the implementation of the deal. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI

Greece plans to accelerate the creation of detention centers on its outlying islands in the Aegean Sea after a backlash against overcrowded camps by some migrants and nearby residents, Reuters reported.

Authorities said on Monday they would proceed with the purchase of land on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, and press ahead with plans to create holding facilities on state-owned land on Kos and Leros.

Thousands of migrants are waiting on the islands for their asylum applications to be processed, most of them in overcrowded camps known as reception centers.

Migrants on the island of Lesbos protested last week against poor living conditions, and residents of the island took to the streets demanding the reception facilities close.

“The government has decided to close today’s anarchic facilities and create controlled, closed facilities,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a statement.

Hundreds of thousands of people crossed into Europe from Turkey via Greece in 2015 and 2016, until a deal brokered by the European Union limited the flow. There has been a resurgence in arrivals since around September 2019.

Greece’s conservative New Democracy government, elected last July, has taken a tougher stance toward migration than Syriza, the leftist party that led the previous government.

The government has introduced new regulations which it says will simplify the asylum process and launched a tender for a floating fence in the Aegean which it hopes will deter migrants arriving from Turkey on rafts.

The new detention centers would house new arrivals until their asylum processes were underway, as well as others showing “delinquent behavior” or not entitled to asylum, Petsas said.

Entering and leaving the facilities would be strictly regulated and they would be closed at night, he added.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!

LEAVE A REPLY