NEWS

EU suspends funding to refugee NGO following claims of sexual abuse, corruption

TAGS: Migration, Corruption, Crime, EU

The European Union has suspended funding to a non-government organization (NGO) aiding refugees in Greece pending an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and financial corruption, a spokesman for European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has said.

“Although these remain allegations under investigation, the Commission is taking them very seriously,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to any abuse of the rights and personal integrity of all refugees and migrants as well as to any misuse of funds,” he said.

“Our primary concern is the welfare of the potential victims. Accordingly, we shall ensure that immediate support is provided to them,” he said.

The spokesman said the Commission had already informed the Greek authorities and submitted the case to OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office for immediate investigation.

He did not name the NGO under investigation.

Harvard report

According to a report from Harvard University published earlier this year, unaccompanied child refugees in Greece are being forced to sell their bodies in order to pay smugglers to help them reach their desired European destination.

The report, produced by Dr Vasileia Digidiki and Prof Jacqueline Bhabha at the university’s centre for health and human rights, exposed a “growing epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant children in Greece.”

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