Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas met with officials on Chios on Friday to discuss measures to reduce the number of refugees on the island, which has suffered from overcrowding and disturbances at its migrant camps.
Mouzalas said that refugees who had submitted their papers for asylum would be moved to the mainland and that this would lead to the closure of two camps on the island, as well as the reduction of numbers at the notorious VIAL facility.
The meeting on Chios came as US-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report decrying the conditions that refugee and migrant children are being kept in.
More than 3,300 unaccompanied asylum-seeking and other migrant children were registered in Greece during the first seven months of the year. In some cases, “they were made to live and sleep in overcrowded, filthy, bug- and vermin-infested cells, sometimes without mattresses, and were deprived of appropriate sanitation, hygiene and privacy,” according to the 17-page report by HRW.
“Greece says it has to detain children for their own protection, but being locked up in cramped and filthy cells is the last thing these kids need,” said Rebecca Riddell, Europe fellow at HRW. “Greece and the EU should do a better job giving these vulnerable children the care they need and deserve.”