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Aegean Islands, Greece, 02-03-2020, 12:00 (GMT) - 115 NGOs have now signed an open letter calling on Charles Michel and EU Leaders to act decisively to alleviate deteriorating conditions on the Aegean Islands.
As Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis introduces emergency measures to refuse asylum applications for 1 month, NGOs call on the Greek government and EU to de-escalate the situation and enact sensible, safe policy. At present, over 42,000 asylum seekers reside in the Island camps - 34% of whom are children - built with capacity for just 6,178.
Following a statement yesterday by European Council President Charles Michel, NGOs are calling on EU leaders to 1) immediately decongest the islands, 2) provide EU led support to Greece’s management of Reception and Identification Centres, and 3) create a shared register of legal, medical and protection staff.
Over the past 48 hours on the Aegean Islands, roadblocks have been set up at refugee camps, boat landings have massively increased and the first deaths have been reported due to increasingly hostile border guarding. “After 5 years of neglectful policy, Europe must act according to its values and defend the human rights of refugees,” says Matthias Mertens, Campaign Coordinator of Europe Must Act. Jacob Warn, Action for Education Programme Coordinator in Greece reports, “The scenes in the Greek island hotspots defy belief. But now, these normalised levels of humanitarian neglect are dramatically worsened by Turkey’s decision to stand down its border guard, sending thousands of refugees towards Greece’s already overburdened camps.”
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