Greece to put migrants into “closed and isolated” camps

Following the growing tensions over the dire conditions in current migrants’ camps on the islands, Greece announced plans to establish “closed” camps, the country’s migration minister said on 10 February. With Turkey’s cooperation, Greece also aims to send back 200 denied asylum seekers to Turkey each week

“By the beginning of March, we will start establishing closed-type refugee camps on islands,” Notis Mitarachi told Greek radio station Skai. The new facilities are expected to be finished by the end of this summer and will have capacity for up to 20,000 migrants..

Entries and exits of the migrants would be regulated in the closed camps. Asylum seekers will be allowed to go out during the day, but will be locked in at night, government spokesman Stelios Petsas says.

The announcement comes after migrants on Lesbos Island protested against their poor living conditions, demanding faster progress on asylum applications. Local residents have also been rallying against hosting this number of migrants and calling for camps’ closure.

As the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported, the current camps on the islands house some 42,000 people in extreme conditions while they only have capacity for 6,200.

Greek also proposed to erect a floating barrier in the Aegean Sea to prevent migrant boats from reaching its islands.

TMP – 25/02/2020

Photo credit: Dimitris Tosidis

Photo caption: Moria, Lesvos / Greece – September 04 2019: Aerial view of Moria refugee camp