ATHENS – With human rights groups and activists finding their pleas essentially ignored, 19 organizations signed an open letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis calling for the protection of unaccompanied child migrants in Greece.
The letter said the children, without parents or guardians, “are lacking in adequate hospitality structures, but also in a holistic system for child protection,” said Kathimerini, and as the groups said the minors are being kept in unsuitable places for extended periods.
The latest data available from the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA), the number of unaccompanied minors in Greece stood at 5,463 on Jan. 30 as Greece is trying to deal with some 100,000 refugees and migrants.
That includes about 42,000 on five islands near the coast of Turkey, which has allowed human traffickers to keep sending more with a 2016 swap deal with the European Union in limbo, and virtually all seeking asylum.
They want to prevent being sent back to Turkey, where they had first gone fleeing war and strife in their homelands but the New Democracy governments plans to add detention centers on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros to vet those not eligible for sanctuary.
The groups worried about the fate of the minors said there are far more than being reported, saying many weren’t registered and that the ages of others has been inaccurately recorded, not reflecting their true status yet.
There is housing so far for only 1,286 of them. An earlier report said of the total number of unaccompanied minors, 92.5 percent are boys and 7.5 percent are girls, while 9 percent are under 14 years old, without parents or guardians and susceptible to abuse, human rights groups have complained to little avail.
Divided by nationality, 44 percent are from Afghanistan, 21 percent from Pakistan, 11 percent from war-torn Syria and another 24 percent are from other countries that weren’t specified.