The Council of Europe’s new report addressing the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was published on Wednesday by Tomáš Boček, the Special Representative on Migration and Refugees of the Council of Europe’s Secretary General. The report, based on a fact-finding mission to the two countries from March 7-11, visited a shelter for unaccompanied children in Athens and a reception center on Chios, as well as camps in both countries, where conditions were overcrowded and only basic needs were being meet.
The report pinpointed key issues that need to be addressed in the refugee crisis, such as the treatment of minors in Greece, especially those that are unaccompanied. The report suggests an alternative to detention for children while their asylum claims are processed and calls for education provisions to be made as well as the need to buffer Greece’s child-protection services as far as refugee and migrant children are concerned.
On a more positive note, the Special Representative welcomed the supportive response of local populations in Greece regarding the rising number of new arrivals, but they underlined the need for integration policies focused on the fight against intolerance and discrimination.