Jill Biden, the former second lady of the United States, on Thursday urged Greece to do more to protect the rights of refugee children during a visit to migrant facilities on the island of Chios.
Biden, an English professor and advocate for children’s rights, was visiting the eastern Aegean island on Wednesday as the board chair of Save the Children NGO, an NGO that has been active on Chios since 2015. She is accompanied by the organization's president, Carolyn Miles.
“Three years since the start of the refugee crisis and families are still arriving in Greece every day in search of the security Europe has to offer. We musn’t forget these children and their families,” Biden was quoted by local media as saying on Thursday. “They need our help and we need to treat them with humanity.”
Biden praised Greece for the “hospitality” and “generosity” it has shown hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and strife, but also urged authorities to take more concrete steps to protect the children landing on the country’s shores.
“I saw children living in squalid conditions at makeshift camps on the beach,” Biden said. “I also met a mother of three who fled her home in Syria when it was bombed. All she wants is a safe place for her children, where they can go to school and continue their education.”
Governments, the private sector and civil society need to “do more,” she added.