Politics

UNCHR Questions Decision Forcing Exit of 9,000 Refugees from Greek Reception System

ATHENS – The UN refugee agency UNCHR, in an announcement on Tuesday, expressed concern over the Greek government's decision for the exit of 9,000 recognised refugees from the Greek reception system, starting on June 1.

UNHCR noted that the objective of making more resources and space available for asylum-seekers was well-understood, given that Greece’s reception system is facing a shortage of places, but expresses concern that this may be happening prematurely, before they have effective access to employment and social welfare schemes, as foreseen by Greek law.

Additionally, UNHCR has been urging Greece to increase the national reception capacity at sites, apartments, hotels and through cash for shelter.

"Forcing people to leave their accommodation without a safety net and measures to ensure their self-reliance may push many into poverty and homelessness. Most of the affected refugees do not have regular income, many are families with school-aged children, single parents, survivors of violence, and others with specific needs. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and measures to reduce its spread create additional challenges by limiting people’s ability to move and find work or accommodation," the UNHCR pointed out.

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