Greece’s new crisis: Appalling conditions for detained EU migrants November 9, 2010Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Yunanistan.
Tags: EU migrants, Greece
EU states must immediately stop sending illegal migrants back to Greece, where they are held in appalling conditions, and share the burden of migration more evenly, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.
Nearly nine out of 10 illegal migrants use Greece as a point of entry to the wealthy European Union, and those caught in other countries of the bloc can be sent back to the Mediterranean state’s detention centres.
“All these detention facilities, with the only exception of the one in Chios (island), were totally overcrowded … filthy, with very, very bad ventilation and lighting, and general conditions were just appalling,” said Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur for torture and other cruel treatment.
Many people had respiratory, skin and psychological problems as a result, Mr. Nowak said after a 10-day visit to the country’s detention centres.
“All EU member states should immediately suspend sending people back to Greece and examine their asylum demands,” Mr. Novak said. “The EU should fundamentally rethink its asylum and migration policy and replace (it) by a fairer system of burden sharing within the Union.”
He urged the European Commission and EU states to help Greece with money and technical assistance to overhaul a “dysfunctional” asylum system in which people are usually locked up for months while waiting for their request to be examined.
He welcomed a Greek government action plan on immigration but said it should urgently be translated into law and implemented to improve treatment of migrants.
“Some of these facilities are so overcrowded, dark, filthy that it was very difficult for us to be there with the detainees, we had to go out because we didn’t have enough air to breathe,” he said, referring to makeshift cells in some Athens police stations.
“Such conditions of detention clealry amount to inhuman and degrading treatment,” he wrote in a statement.