x

Society

Construction to Start on New Refugee, Migrant Centers in Greece

February 11, 2020

ATHENS – After delays that had officials and residents of islands furious, work on building new migrant detention centers will begin in March, places aimed at sorting out those not eligible for asylum.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said the new facilities on eastern Aegean islands near Turkey should be ready to begin operation in the summer, the time when there could be another surge in arrivals.

Turkey is letting human traffickers keep sending refugees and migrants to Greek island during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union. They had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homelands in hopes of reaching more prosperous countries before the EU closed its doors to them.

That left only the option of being granted sanctuary in Greece which is overwhelmed with some 100,000 of them, including about 50,000 on islands where they have been penned up in overcrowded facilities that human rights groups said were not fit for humans.

Speaking on SKAI TV, Mitarakis said that the new facilities, which are designed to replace existing hotspots like the notorious Moria camp on Lesbos island, will speed the return to Turkey of those who don’t get asylum although only about 2,000 have been deported so far.

The New Democracy government is proceeding despite protests from island officials and residents on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos who want the refugees and migrants moved to the mainland, weary of dealing with them for almost five years.

Mitarakis said that Afghan asylum-seekers on the Greek islands currently outnumber those from Syria’s civil war,
He said the new centers will be designed to accommodate a total of 20,000 asylum-seekers for a maximum of three months. He said the government aims to raise the number of weekly returns to 200 and that Turkey indicated it would cooperate although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to flood the EU with millions more.

The government said a presidential decree will also allow the Migration Ministry to seize properties to manage the refugee and migrant crisis.

RELATED

ATHENS - Actor, director, and former head of the Greek National Theater completed his testimony on Monday before a mixed jury court trying him on four charges of rape including minors.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.