Greece Wants Bidders for Closed-Off Migrant Centers on Islands

ΑΤΗΕΝS — Over the complaints of activists and human rights groups, Greece is moving to build two closed-type refugee and migrant detention centers on two islands that have been holding them since the crisis began in 2015.

The New Democracy government launched a European Union-wide tender for companies to bid on building the facilities where refugees and migrants living in camps will be moved under a harder line policy in dealing with them.

The new facilities on Lesbos and Chios islands would be completed within eight months, the migration ministry said in a statement, reported Reuters, the government claiming the “Closed Controlled Structures" would improve living conditions for asylum-seekers and lessen the burden on islanders.

But the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic earlier  wrote to Greek ministers, urging them to reconsider the closed style she said “will lead to large-scale and long-term deprivation of liberty… which has very harmful effects on their mental health, especially on children”.

The migrant camps were set up by the previous Radical Left SYRIZA onfive islands near the coast of Turkey, which allowed human traffickers to send them, even during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union.

Turkey is holding some 4.4 million people who fled war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan but also sub-Saharan Africa and other regions.

The failed to stem the tide and saw people packed in camps that human rights groups said were inhumane with the former Moria detention center on Lesbos called “the worst in the world,” by the BBC although former premier and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras saying he was proud of it.

The government said this month the number of asylum-seekers on its islands had fallen below 10,000 for the first time since Europe's migration crisis began in 2015, and down from nearly 20,000 people at its worst point in November 2018, the report said, the camps designed to hold 6,000.


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