News World U.N. refugees chief urges Greece to improve "miserable" camp conditions

U.N. refugees chief urges Greece to improve “miserable” camp conditions

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees urged the Greek government on Wednesday to improve living conditions in migrant camps and said Europe must do more to protect unaccompanied children.

Greece‘s new conservative government has taken a tougher stance than its leftist predecessor on the migrant crisis, saying it will “shut the door” to people not entitled to stay in the country.

It has announced plans to shut overcrowded refugee camps and replace them with detention centres to be used both as an ante-room for deporting failed asylum seekers and as a reception and processing centre for new arrivals.

“We cannot accept that they (refugees) live in such miserable living conditions. The conditions are very challenging and need urgent improvement,” Commissioner Filippo Grandi told reporters after visiting camps on the island of Lesbos.

Arrivals of migrants from neighbouring Turkey have risen again in recent months, with more than 37,000 people crammed into facilities on eastern Aegean islands that operate far beyond their capacity.

Last week the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) raised concerns over the new centres, saying they may provide better living conditions but could eventually turn into prisons for people who seek safety and are trapped “in an endless drama”.

Grandi said Greece was the most impacted among the EU’s coastal states from the migrant crisis and asked for a collective European solution to protect unaccompanied minors.

“I am very worried about children, especially children travelling alone, they are the most exposed to violence and exploitation,” said Grandi who was due to meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis later in the day.

On Lesbos, the Moria camp is one of the centres set to close and be replaced by a closed facility. Created to accommodate about 3,000 people, it now houses more than 15,000 in conditions aid agencies say are abysmal.

The government wants to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year and expects the new facilities to be ready by July 2020. State authorities believe that more than 80,000 migrants and refugees are currently in Greece.


Top Stories

Almost 1.3m PCR and rapid coronavirus tests carried out between March-January 21

Almost 1.3 million PCR and antigen rapid coronavirus tests were carried out in Cyprus between March and Thursday, January 21, according to Ministry of...

Hungary buys Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, first in EU

Hungary has signed a deal to buy Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the first European Union country to do so, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told...

Another postponement to disputed death of soldier case

The Cyprus Law Office has until Tuesday to take a final stand on the request by the family of a soldier whose death is...

Shallow magnitude 4.3 earthquake rattles Crete

A shallow magnitude 4.3 earthquake was reported on Friday morning near the port city of Sitia in the Greek island of Crete. The National Observatory...

Sport shooter Eleftheriou gives names behind alleged sexual abuse to police

Sport shooter and member of Cyprus’ women’s national shooting team Andri Eleftheriou has named the person she accuses of sexually abusing her twice during...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...