Amnesty Slams Greece over ‘Appalling’ Migrant Camps

Thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants remained trapped on the Greek islands in “appalling conditions” Amnesty International said on Thursday.

An Amnesty report which documents the state of the world’s human rights in 159 countries and territories during 2017, notes that security continued to be a main concern in many of the remaining refugee camps, in particular in overcrowded “hotspots” on the islands.

The report welcomes the evacuation in June of the three refugee camps in the Elliniko area in Athens – which housed around 1,000 refugees and migrants, including many children.

The conditions in the Elliniko camps had been appalling and unsafe, AI says.

It underlines the serious concern raised by many NGOs regarding security in Elliniko, especially for women and girls. Many women reported verbal harassment and being at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

The report notes that the Greek authorities transferred thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers from the islands to the mainland.

However, in August, rising numbers of people arrived on the islands and reception facilities returned to being overcrowded.

The authorities were unable to provide reception conditions on the islands that met minimum standards under EU law by the end of the year, Amnesty claims.

The report also highlights the plight of unaccompanied children.

In September, the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture criticized the continued and routine detention of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children.

As of Dec. 15, there were 2,256 unaccompanied children waiting to be placed in shelters, including 74 detained in police stations, the Amnesty report claims.