NEWS

Aid agency complains to PM about migrant centers

The Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) aid agency has revealed that it sent an open letter to Prime Minister George Papandreou complaining about the ?unbearable and inhumane conditions? in which undocumented immigrants are being detained in facilities in Evros near the Turkish border.

?The Greek government should immediately improve living and hygiene conditions in the border police stations and detention centers,? MSF said in a press release issued late on Thursday. The document said that MSF doctors have treated more than 850 migrants suffering from respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, and skin infection brought on by the substandard living conditions.

?No human being should be subjected to such treatment,? Ioanna Pertsinidou, MSF?s emergency coordinator, was quoted as saying. Pertsinidou said conditions at three border detention centers in Evros were ?extremely overcrowded and squalid.? ?The migrants don?t have the space to even lie down in the cells, while the heating often does not work,? she said, adding that a dysfunctioning toilet in one facility often floods a cell where migrants sleep with excrement.

The agency also objected to the government?s plans to build a fence along a 12.5-kilometer section of its land border with Turkey, claiming that ?restrictive measures… are not a viable response? to increased migration flows. ?The European Union?s increasingly restrictive asylum and migration policies are putting the lives and well-being of migrants in danger,? MSF said. The fence idea was embraced however on Thursday by France?s Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux during a visit to Athens. ?We support the creation of obstacles to counter immigration pressure,? Hortefeux said. ?Of course this cannot be compared to the Berlin Wall or anything like that, he added after talks with Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis.