Greece has launched an EU-wide tender for the construction of two closed-type facilities to replace migrant camps on its islands, a move which has been criticized by a leading human rights activist. ‘man.
The Conservative government announced for the first time at the end of 2019 its plan to transfer asylum seekers to closed detention centers as part of a stricter policy for managing the flow of migrants.
The new facilities on the islands of Lesvos and Chios would be completed within eight months, the Migration Ministry said on Friday in a statement announcing the call for tenders.
He said the so-called “closed controlled structures” would improve the living conditions of asylum seekers and ease the burden of the migration crisis on local communities.
However, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic wrote earlier this month to Greek ministers, urging them to reconsider the closed nature of the facilities.
“I am concerned that this will lead to large-scale and long-term deprivation of liberty … which has very detrimental effects on their mental health, especially on the children,” Mijatovic wrote.
The migrant camps were set up by the former left-wing government on five islands close to Turkey with the aim of quickly identifying asylum seekers and dealing with the huge flow of arrivals, mainly from Syria, from Iraq and Afghanistan.
They had little success in managing the numbers and quickly reached two to three times their capacity. The camps of Lesbos and Chios have spread into olive groves with fragile tents and poor and often dangerous living conditions.
The government said this month that the number of asylum seekers on its islands fell below 10,000 for the first time since the start of the migration crisis in Europe in 2015, and down from nearly 20,000 people at their worst time in November 2018.
The camps were originally designed to accommodate around 6,000 people.
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