Tag: greece

No place to fall sick: How refugees are barred from healthcare

Administrative and legal barriers, together with prohibitive costs, mean those fleeing conflict and persecution are often left without the most basic rights to healthcare.

At this week’s UN summit, heads of state promised to share responsibility for the 65 million people displaced worldwide. The six wealthiest countries host less than nine per cent of the world’s refugees while poorer countries bear the brunt of the crisis.

Lebanon has the highest number of refugees compared to its population, with over a million Syrians living there.

A Rule of Law Crisis Overshadows the Refugee One

This week Greek officials agreed to deport a Syrian refugee back to Turkey. Without guarantees that his rights will be protected this risks contravening the EU’s established rules on asylum and human rights.

Greece is obligated to do so under the EU-Turkey deal agreed on 20 March 2016 where Turkey agreed to take back migrants and police its borders in exchange for $6bn and improved visa conditions for Turks in Europe.

The deal was intended to curb the flow of migrants arriving from Turkey to Greece and Italy. The effect has been short-lived. The recent attempted coup in Turkey led to the withdrawal of Turkish police and liaison officers from the Greek islands and saw a new rise in arrivals.

Witness: “They Always Say ‘Tomorrow, You’ll Be Free.’”

Unaccompanied Children Behind Bars in Greece

Filiates, Greece, is a small, picturesque town of white stucco houses topped with red tile roofs, and begonias in full bloom. But “Babrak,” a 16-year-old who fled Afghanistan to seek safety in Europe, experienced a much darker side of the town, spending much of his time there locked up in a cramped, dirty cell.

He is one of thousands of children who left their home countries for various reasons – violence, armed conflict, discrimination, poverty – but now find themselves trapped in Greece.

When Babrak lived in Afghanistan, Taliban fighters killed two of his classmates, at which point Babrak quit going to school. Then the Taliban sent a threatening letter to his home. Babrak’s brother was in the police force, making his family a target.

Greece: Refugee “Hotspots” Unsafe, Unsanitary

Police are failing to protect people during frequent incidents of violence in closed centers on the Greek islands known as “hotspots,” Human Rights Watch said today. The centers were established for the reception, identification, and processing of asylum seekers and migrants. None of the three centers Human Rights Watch visited on Samos, Lesbos, and Chios in mid-May 2016, separate single women from unrelated adult men, and all three are unsanitary and severely overcrowded.

“In Europe’s version of refugee camps, women and children who fled war face daily violence and live in fear,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Lack of police protection, overcrowding, and unsanitary conditions create an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity in Greece’s razor wire-fenced island camps.”

On visits from May 9 to May 15, Human Rights Watch found all three facilities to be severely overcrowded, with significant shortages of basic shelter and filthy, unhygienic conditions. Long lines for poor quality food, mismanagement, and lack of information contribute to the chaotic and volatile atmosphere in the three hotspots, Human Rights Watch said.

On May 13, a fight involving about 200 men raged for several hours in the Vathi hotspot on Samos, a 250-bed facility that held 945 people that day. Human Rights Watch visited the center on May 14, and saw smears of blood on floors, blood-stained clothing, jagged holes in the shelters where rocks had been thrown, and broken glass and other detritus from the fight, and examined bruises and lacerations on men’s and women’s heads and bodies. Many residents said the police providing security for the site withdrew when the fighting broke out. According to aid workers with Boat Rescue, a Dutch nongovernmental organization that provides health care at the facility, 14 people were hospitalized, including some with broken arms and legs.