|Posted by moodhacker on January 28, 2017 at 7:15 AM|
UN Commissioner on Refugees :Greek government ignored us
Giovanni Lepri of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spoke to reporters claiming that the UN had given Greece’s Migration Ministry three proposals on three different occasions detailing how to deal with the overcrowded migrant reception centers throughout the country. Lepri says that even after the three proposals Greece never responded and that the Greek authorities have essentially ignored proposals on how to best handle migrants and how to better their living conditions at the camps.
One focus of the proposals was the Moria camp on the Aegean island of Lesvos, which is considered one of the hotspots for the migrant crisis. Overcrowded and insufficient housing accommodations have left many migrants out in the cold and snow as the winter months have brought below zero degrees temperatures to Greece.
“The camp in Lesbos has been on fire three times and suffered serious damage in the housing unit,” Mr. Lepri said. “It also houses double the population it is designed for, so it’s not easy to work in this place.”
European Commissioner on Refugees: the blame to the NGOs
Reporters asked Lepri to comment about recent accusations by the European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, where he stated that aid groups are partially to blame for delays in wintering the camps and providing better shelter options for the migrants during the harsh winter months. Lepri said that the commissioner was partially correct in his statement, but that ultimately, the task at hand rests in the Greek authorities hands, and that they could have gone forward with the proposals by the UN regardless of aid groups involved.
Avramopou;los in Lesvos, January 18, 2017
During a recent visit to the island of Lesbos, the European commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said the European Commission has made available a lot of financial support to the international partners operating in Greece and called on them to redouble their efforts so that the migrants and refugees are not left out in the cold.
In a statement issued during his visit, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "I am in Lesvos today to pass a very important message: that we all, Greeks, Europeans, have a humanitarian imperative to alleviate the situation here on the islands, for the migrants as well as for the inhabitants of these islands. Greece has already shown its humanity in dealing with the refugee crisis, a crisis that no EU Member State is able or should be left to cope with alone. We cannot give up now. The European humanitarian tradition must be maintained. So it simply cannot be that refugees are left out in the cold, to brave the worst of winter without a roof over their heads. Solutions must be found today, not tomorrow, not next week, but now. The European Union will continue to stand by Greece's side in providing those solutions, just as we have been doing till now."
Migration management, in Greece, is a national challenge and exceeds political parties confrontations.
We all agreed that the images we saw last week cannot be repeated. The inhabitants of these islands have shown enormous altruism and humanity since the beginning of the migratory crisis, and I want to express, once again, my gratitude towards them.
But the recent unexpectedly harsh weather conditions have exposed the needs that have to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Winterised shelters, already funded by the European Commission, have to urgently be installed by the UNHCR.
In parallel, the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement has to be accelerated and measures to enhance security on the islands have to be taken. The islands coordinators have to immediately take over their tasks and cooperate with the local authorities.
All means to alleviate the pressure from the islands including measures of financial support have to be discussed with the Greek government.
I reassured the Mayors that the European Commission stands by Greece and its islands, as it stands by Italy, Bulgaria and other affected countries. The response to the migratory crisis is a collective European responsibility.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos during his visist in Lesvos, visited the refugee centres in Moria and Kara Tepe together with the Greek Minister for Migration Ioannis Mouzalas, the mayors of the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios; respectively Spyros Galinos, Michalis Angelopoulos and Manolis Vournous and the EU coordinator for the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement Maarten Verwey.
Camps on the islands contain thousands more people than they were built for. Human-rights groups have documented dire sanitary conditions and inadequate food supply, heating and security. Winter, they warn, continues to put the lives of vulnerable people at risk.
One suggestion that UN Commissioner Lepri has stressed as being totally opposed to , is that of the closed detention centers , an initiatve of the the Greek authorities to bring the option of setting up closed facilities — or detention centers — which would house migrants accused of crimes.
Lepri was clear that the UNHCR would not condone such centers and would not support such actions.