GREECE says it will close the large migration camps on the Aegean islands within months and replace them with deportation centres.
The country’s Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said this on Thursday.
“We will close these camps by the summer of 2020, after thousands demonstrated against the camps on Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos,“ Mitarakis said.
The facilities were set up at the peak of the 2015-16 migration crisis to separate true refugees from economic migrants but were overwhelmed and overcrowded from the start.
Under the EU-Turkey agreement from March 2016, refugees are granted asylum in the E U, while the rest are to be returned, but the arrivals have from the onset outpaced Greece’s ability to process them.
A spike in the arrivals rate since April further aggravated the situation and now there are around 40,000 people stranded on the islands, around six times more than the capacity of the camps.
Under a government plan announced in 2019, the hotspots will be converted into closed deportation centres and the deportation procedure will be accelerated.
The mayor of the Samos capital Vathy, said: “We will see whether that will turn into reality, but nothing has happened so far.”
Most of the migrants live outside the official camps and crowded the streets on the islands; their number is constant in spite transfer of thousands, mostly families and children, to the mainland in recent months.
– Jan. 23, 2020 @ 17:31 GMT |