ATHENS — One hundred and thirty four Iraqis voluntarily returned to their country on a charter flight that departed on Thursday from Athens International Airport, in the context of the assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme that is being implemented with the support of the International Organisation for Migration.
Among the group that departed were 38 children, two of them unaccompanied.
According to Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi who was at the airport, this was the "largest voluntary return that has been carried out this year in the EU and the largest ever for Greece". He also added that the government will continue the voluntary returns. "Our aim is to reach 5,000 returns in 2020, giving priority to migrants that are on the Greek islands. In combination with border protection, the decongestion of the islands and the country is, step by step, becoming a reality".
The Ambassador of Iraq to Greece Sors Khalid Said explained that last year approximately 4,000 Iraqis returned to their country and this is due to improved safety in Iraq.