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Palestinian Refugees Deeply Concerned over Their Ambivalent Fate as Greece Changes Its Mind on Migrant Detention Centers

Published : 20-02-2020

Palestinian Refugees Deeply Concerned over Their Ambivalent Fate as Greece Changes Its Mind on Migrant Detention Centers

Greece has halted plans to construct new detention centers on outlying islands facing Turkey amid mounting opposition from resident communities who fear they will become permanent.

The centre-right administration announced it would extend talks with regional authorities about replacing “anarchic” open-air camps with closed facilities on the Aegean outposts.

“We will put the requisitions on hold,” the minister for migration affairs, Notis Mitarachi, said on Monday, referring to a government order to appropriate land for the camps. “We will go on talking until Friday this week [with the aim] of coming to a solution.”

Athens hopes the new installations will help ameliorate an increasingly chaotic situation on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos, where overcrowding in camps has been exacerbated in recent months by a fresh influx of refugees and migrants determined to reach Europe from Turkey. More than 42,000 people are now crammed into camps designed to accommodate 5,400.

“We have asked for €260m in additional EU funding to create the new centres on the islands,” Mitarachi told the Guardian. “There will be five camps – one in Mytilene, one in Samos, one in Chios, one in Leros and one in Kos. The islands asked for emergency measures and this is an emergency measure.”

Five years after the immigration crisis erupted, the latest surge in arrivals has pitted communities on the frontline against policymakers in the capital.

Following its decision to sequester land for the proposed camps, the government has faced protests, roadblocks and threats of legal action from the island communities. On Lesbos, the gateway for close to a million displaced refugees at the height of the Syrian civil war, residents pledged to stop bulldozers beginning construction work.

Not since March 2016, when the EU struck a landmark accord with Turkey to curb arrivals, have migratory flows been as high as at present. In Lesbos, close to 21,000 migrants, including Palestinian refugees, are staying in Moria, a holding facility regarded as the worst refugee camp in the world.

On any given day hundreds more people reach the entry points in rickety boats charted by smugglers. Under the EU-Turkey deal, asylum seekers are duty-bound to remain on the islands until their requests are completed. There is a backlog of 90,000 applications.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/9737

Greece has halted plans to construct new detention centers on outlying islands facing Turkey amid mounting opposition from resident communities who fear they will become permanent.

The centre-right administration announced it would extend talks with regional authorities about replacing “anarchic” open-air camps with closed facilities on the Aegean outposts.

“We will put the requisitions on hold,” the minister for migration affairs, Notis Mitarachi, said on Monday, referring to a government order to appropriate land for the camps. “We will go on talking until Friday this week [with the aim] of coming to a solution.”

Athens hopes the new installations will help ameliorate an increasingly chaotic situation on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos, where overcrowding in camps has been exacerbated in recent months by a fresh influx of refugees and migrants determined to reach Europe from Turkey. More than 42,000 people are now crammed into camps designed to accommodate 5,400.

“We have asked for €260m in additional EU funding to create the new centres on the islands,” Mitarachi told the Guardian. “There will be five camps – one in Mytilene, one in Samos, one in Chios, one in Leros and one in Kos. The islands asked for emergency measures and this is an emergency measure.”

Five years after the immigration crisis erupted, the latest surge in arrivals has pitted communities on the frontline against policymakers in the capital.

Following its decision to sequester land for the proposed camps, the government has faced protests, roadblocks and threats of legal action from the island communities. On Lesbos, the gateway for close to a million displaced refugees at the height of the Syrian civil war, residents pledged to stop bulldozers beginning construction work.

Not since March 2016, when the EU struck a landmark accord with Turkey to curb arrivals, have migratory flows been as high as at present. In Lesbos, close to 21,000 migrants, including Palestinian refugees, are staying in Moria, a holding facility regarded as the worst refugee camp in the world.

On any given day hundreds more people reach the entry points in rickety boats charted by smugglers. Under the EU-Turkey deal, asylum seekers are duty-bound to remain on the islands until their requests are completed. There is a backlog of 90,000 applications.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/9737