Underage Refugees in Lesvos to Be Moved to Separate Camp

prosfyges-e-264Greece’s Deputy Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas announced that the 380 unaccompanied minors at the Moria refugee registration camp in Lesvos will be transferred to a separate camp.

The decision came after the riots on Holy Tuesday, when refugees and migrants of different nationalities rioted, with most of them being unaccompanied minors.

The Greek government decided to move all unaccompanied underage refugees to a separate camp on the island under the supervision of NGOs Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and METAdrasi.

Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Mouzalas said, “We are concerned, we are not proud, we are not happy. I saw that they [refugees] are tried very hard. Greece will treat them in accordance with our national laws and European Union requirements, and we will examine all applications for asylum.”

Commenting on the violence and the way police handled the riot, Mouzalas said, “I saw some strictness, but it was necessary.” And he continued, “We will have such incidents. It all depends on our ability to deal with them.”

Referring to the 24 migrants who were taken to the hospital, he said that their injuries were minor, according to nurses’ testimonies, and the injuries were caused by fights between them.

About 100 minors participated in the riots. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), unaccompanied refugee children must be hosted in separate facilities. The UNHCR is funding rental apartments in Lesvos to accommodate 60 unaccompanied children. However, the spots haven’t been allocated yet by Greece’s National Center for Social Solidarity (NCSS). According to the Labor Ministry, responsible for solidarity actions, there is presently no staff to work on the rented apartments program.

Regarding the transferring of the 380 refugee minors to a separate camp, a government official said, “This is a temporary solution until we organize the accommodation structures.” He also said the plan for transitional facilities for minors will be applied in other camps and by the end of May the NCSS is expected to create 200 positions for hosting unaccompanied minors.