Migrant situation on Greek islands ‘explosive and on verge of disaster’
Thursday, 31 October 2019
The situation of migrants in the camps on the Greek islands is “explosive and on the verge of disaster,” warned on Thursday Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a five-day visit to the islands.
More than 34,000 people live in camps on five Greek islands while their capacity is only 6,300 people.
The camps in Lesbos and Samos are the most overcrowded and the living conditions there have been denounced repeatedly by NGOs defending the rights of migrants and refugees.
“The situation of migrants, including asylum seekers, in the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea has worsened dramatically in the last 12 months,” Mijatovic told reporters and called for “urgent measures to deal with the appalling conditions in which thousands of people live.”
Dunja Mijatovic, a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was elected to Commissioner in January 2018 and is the first woman to hold this post.
After visiting the overcrowded camps of the islands of Lesbos and Samos, the Commissioner said that she was “shocked by the horrible hygiene conditions” in which asylum seekers live.
“There is a flagrant lack of proper medical care in these heavily overcrowded camps, where people wait for hours to get food and to go to the bathroom, if there is any,” she said.
“The Greek authorities must act quickly. Human rights are not respected,” said Dunja Mijatovic. “The image is shocking for Europe in the 21st century.”
For the first time since 2016, Greece has become the main entry point for asylum seekers in Europe, a problem that has prompted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government, elected in July, to call for stricter border controls and the tightening of asylum approval.