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Society

EU Ombudsman Says Greece Needs Help With Refugees, Migrants

February 22, 2018

ATHENS – Backing Greece’s call for more aid, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said other European Union countries – who have closed their borders to refugees and migrants – should provide assistance even though some have reneged on pledges to take some of the overload.

Greece is overwhelmed with more than 64,000 refugees and migrants, including some 15,000 on islands sent by human traffickers even during a suspended EU swap program with Turkey, which has taken back only a relative handful.

That has dumped the problem on Greece during a simultaneous crushing economic problem and as human rights groups have condemned what they called inhuman conditions in detention centers and camps on the islands near the Turkish coast, primarily Lesbos, Samos and Chios.

During a visit to Athens, O’Reilly said after a series of meetings with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who holds a symbolic office, and other officials that her agency ha looked into the EU border protection agency Frontex and allegations of forced returns or so-called pushbacks sending refugees and migrants back away from EU borders, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Greek Ombudsman Andreas Pottakis said that, “Our two bureaus are in constant contact and collaboration over all issues concerning the flows of refugees and migrants to our country,”even though there’s essentially nothing they can do except talk about it.

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