BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe’s top human rights court has cleared Greece of allegations of serious mistreatment made by three Afghan migrants who were arrested and held at an overcrowded island detention center.
The Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that three plaintiffs, now aged between 25 and 29, had not been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment by authorities on the island of Chios after their detention in March, 2016. It also rejected allegations that their detention had been unlawful.
The court ordered that Greece pay legal costs as well as an additional 620 euros (770 dollars) to each plaintiff for failing to promptly inform them of the reasons for their arrest.
The U.N.’s refugee agency is urging the European Union not to abandon its system for sharing refugees when any member country is overwhelmed by migrant arrivals.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk said Thursday that refugee relocation “is absolutely crucial.”
Frontline countries Greece and Italy were unable to cope with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in 2015.
When voluntary relocation of refugees failed, a mandatory quota scheme was introduced, but some countries refused to take their share, resulting in legal challenges.
Attempts to reform the EU’s asylum system are blocked over the issue.
Turk also urged EU countries to bring in more refugees from outside Europe so they don’t make dangerous journeys in search of sanctuary, saying that “resettlement is a life-saving act for many people.”