Child refugee conditions in Greece shock UN officials

U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday his delegation was "shocked by the conditions at a detention centre in Greece holding 200 children.

Child refugee conditions in Greece shock UN officials

U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday his delegation was "shocked by the conditions at a detention centre in Greece holding 200 children.

More than 850 people including 200 unaccompanied children are being held in shocking conditions at a detention centre for immigrants on the Greek island of Lesvos, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.

UNHCR said the situation at the detention centre at Pagani on the island of Lesvos was "unacceptable," as it only had capacity for up to 300 people, but was actually holding over 850.

"One room houses over 150 women and 50 babies, many suffering from illness related to the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the centre," said UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic.

"They were shocked at the condition in the facility," he said, referring to the UN staff who visited. Most detainees were from Afghanistan, he said.

Greek health and social solidarity ministry officials have promised the UNHCR that all unaccompanied children at Pagani will be transferred to "special reception facilities" by the end of the month and the ministry has started work on this, he said.

"The situation in Pagani is indicative of broader problems relating to irregular migration and Greece's asylum system," Mahecic said.

Greece so far has failed to implement recommendations presented last year by UNHCR with the support of the interior ministry to overhaul the asylum system, with special measures to protect children, he noted.

The UNHCR says that neither children nor asylum-seekers in general should be held in detention, and says that Greece has a much lower rate of recognising asylum-seekers than other states.

Last month the UNHCR said that new rules in Greece's asylum policy would make it even harder to get refugee status in the European Union member.


Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2009, 15:35
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