Only 1% of Refugees, Migrants in Greece Relocated to Other Countries

Although the European Union closed its borders to them and most countries reneged on promises to help take some of the overload, only 1,066 refugees and migrants in Greece, holding 100,000 of them, have been sent to other countries so far in 2020.

The data came from United Nations' agencies IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF which said the transfers were done through an initiative of the EU, which also promised to help Greece after a fire destroyed the Moria camp on Lesbos but did little.

Still, the Greek government and the UN agencies celebrated the transfer of 139 more to Germany, which earlier had shut them out after taking in about 1.06 million, stopping after a backlash grew.

The EU, which has refused to take other countries to court for reneging on its pledges, has organized 16 transfers while the bloc's migration chief, Margaritis Schinas from Greece's ruling New Democracy, hasn't pushed them either.

The asylum seekers, some of whom have lingered for two years or more in Greek detention centers and camps, including on five islands, were sent to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal.

But the other 19 EU countries still refuse to help and some are openly anti-migrant, such as Hungary and Poland.

With the EU doing little to help after the Moria fire despite pledges, Greece has moved most of the 12,500 who were left homeless into a tent city where they will spend the winter.

The UN agencies, however, said they are getting some European Commission financial support to move 724 unaccompanied children from the islands to the mainland in anticipation of their relocation to other European States, reported Info Migrants. They are in temporary UN facilities on the mainland.

"This milestone is a remarkable testament that cooperation among partners can change the lives of children and other vulnerable people for the better," said Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director for the EEA, EU and NATO.

"Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, relocation flights are happening almost every week. We hope this momentum is sustained and expanded, with more European states participating soon,” he added.

He didn't explain why transferring only about 1 percent of refugees and migrants was a success as countries which refuse to help have dug in their heels and the EU isn't prodding them to cooperate.

As of mid-September, there were almost 4,400 unaccompanied and separated children in Greece in urgent need of durable solutions, including family reunion and relocation, the report said.

That includes more than 1,000 are exposed to severe risks, including exploitation and violence, and facing homelessness and precarious conditions in urban centers, the migrant news site also said.


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