HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER CRITICIZES LIVING CONDITIONS FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES IN GREECE

This Tuesday, the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, has published a report about the conditions for asylum seekers and refugees in Greece. The Commissioner urges Greece to take urgent steps to improve the reception and integration of migrants. The commissioner stresses that "the poor hygiene conditions, the psychological distress and the uncertainty are threatening the health of migrants and asylum seekers on the islands." But also the situation on the mainland remains critical, as most refugee camps "are made up of overcrowded containers and/or tents, do not cover the basic needs of their residents and are located in remote areas."

The report also notes that the Commissioner is deeply concerned about the reported poor shelter conditions and the lack of social support that most unaccompanied migrant children experience in Greece. She urges Greece to end the detention of unaccompanied minors under so-called "protective custody" and that the Greek state needs to significantly increase the places in shelters for unaccompanied minors. The Commissioner also addresses several other issues in her report, like the barriers to family reunification and the difficulties for asylum seekers and refugees to access the labor market. The report was created after a visit of the Commissioner to Greece this summer.

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