In its annual review for 2018, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the failure of Greek authorities to properly identify vulnerable asylum seekers for transfer to the mainland has “impeded their access to proper care and services.”
The watchdog group also said that policy formed under the deal between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to the continent has led to thousands being “trapped in Greece in overcrowded and abysmal conditions, while denying most access to adequate asylum procedures or refugee protection.”
“The policies, conditions, uncertainty and the slow pace of decision-making contributed to deteriorating mental health for some asylum seekers and other migrants on the islands, while creating tensions that sometimes erupted into violence,” it said.
More than 50,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece.
Meanwhile, five eastern Aegean island mayors are calling for a meeting with the German ambassador in Athens after coming under fire from German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who said on Wednesday that they were to blame for the appalling living conditions of refugees and migrants trapped in the hotspots.
De Maiziere accused the island mayors of not making use of the aid that is being offered in order to force the government to transfer them to the Greek mainland.