Human Rights Watch Tells Greece: Release Jailed Migrant Children

ATHENS – The 276 unaccompanied migrant children being held in police and detention cells in Greece should be released, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a letter, citing the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

“The Prime Minister should act on his pledge to protect unaccompanied children and make sure that hundreds of vulnerable children are freed from dirty, crowded cells, sometimes alongside adults, where they are exposed to the risks of COVID-19 infection,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for failing to give these children the care and protection they need.”

The group said that the National Center for Social Solidarity detailed the numbers of migrant children being held and who have no parent or guardian as they await transfers to shelters as the pandemic winds down.

The 276 is 19 more children behind bars than when Mitsotakis announced, in November 2019, the No Child Alone plan to protect unaccompanied children, the group said, adding that it had documented arbitrary and prolonged detention.

Under Greek law, unaccompanied children should be transferred to safe accommodation, but Greece has a chronic shortage of space in suitable facilities, it was also noted, leaving the children to wait for weeks or months for suitable accommodations.

HRW said they are being held in small police station cells and detention centers where following social distancing guidelines is impossible and some are put in cells with adults being held.

“They often have little access to basic health care and other services, hygiene supplies, or even natural light. In many cases, they do not receive information about their rights or about how to go about seeking asylum, and many experience psychological distress,” the HRW letter said.

The government said it had reduced the time of detention from 45 to 25 days but HRW said holding children for immigration reasons is prohibited by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A 2019 UN global study on children deprived of liberty reported even if detention conditions are good, detaining children worsens existing health conditions and causes new ones to arise, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal thoughts.

On April 14, Human Rights Watch opened a campaign to #FreeTheKids, urging people to press Mitsotakis to immediately release unaccompanied migrant children from detention and transfer them to safe, child-friendly facilities.

Transitional options could include hotels, foster care, and apartments under a Supported Independent Living program for unaccompanied children ages 16 to 18, the group said, urging more European Union aid.

HRW said government data found that since April 30, only 1,477 out of the 5,099 unaccompanied children in Greece were housed in suitable, long-term facilities. The rest are left to fend for themselves in overcrowded island camps or on the streets or are confined in police cells and detention centers on Greece’s mainland.

Full text follows:



ATHENS -In the most scathing allegation yet about constant reports that Greece has pushed back refugees - repeatedly denied by the government - nine people who said they were thrown into the water claimed dozens of others tossed into the sea drowned.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

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.


1 of 2 Abducted Louisiana Children is Found Dead in Mississippi after Their Mother is Killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said.

ATHENS - A Greek lawyer who took on celebrated cases was released from custody after admitting he savagely beat his wife, as the government said it would try to protect women from domestic violence and wanted stricter penalties.

PHOENIX — Over 75 million people in the United States were under extreme heat alerts Monday as a heat wave moved eastward, and the mid-Atlantic and New England were likely to see highs in the 90s as the week progresses.

NEW YORK – Constantine Iordanou, the well-known Cypriot businessman, passed away on June 16 due to a heart attack.

NICOSIA -Cyprus’ biggest tourism drawing card - its beaches - could vanish in the next 50 years because of rising sea levels and climate change that world governments hare largely ignored, Cyprus Institute scientist Giorgos Zittis has warned.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

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