The indoor gymnasium of Ierapetra in Crete currently hosts refugees who arrived on the Greek island with cargo ship M/V “Baris.” Twenty nine refugee children are among them, mainly from Syria, but also from Iraq, Iran and Palestine.
The children have no parents or close family and boarded the ship with the help of family friends and acquaintances. The Greek Public Order Ministry, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has decided that the children will be transferred to juvenile detention centers where they will be examined in order to determine their age.
Authorities will then look for their parents. If they cannot be reached or if it turns out that they are not alive, the children will be held in the centers until they become adults, at which point they will be responsible for their fate.
Meanwhile, the first wave of refugees departed from Crete on Saturday, November 29. One hundred and forty-four refugees from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan were transported to Athens where they will be transferred to Immigrant Detention Centers.
However, the people who came from Syria remain in Crete and Greek authorities are checking their documents, trying to identify them.
Seven people who were identified as “Baris” crew members are being prosecuted for a felony since they were supposed to transfer the refugees to Italy. According to local news, 600 refugees paid an amount estimated between 3,000 and 6,500 euros each in order to be transported to Italy, however they never made it to their destination. Any refugees who arrived in Greece from Syria will be deported within the next month.