Philippe Leclerc, the representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Greece, urged European Union member-states to accept asylum seekers from countries burdened by migration, following violent clashes on Wednesday between migrants at the Moria Reception and Identification Center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
“Greece’s reception system is at its limits. The UNHCR has repeatedly emphasized that countries such as Greece, located at the external borders of the EU and accepting the largest number of arrivals, need practical solidarity from other European states,” he told Kathimerini, adding that this includes the relocation of asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied minors.
The brawl at Moria erupted after a protest staged by unaccompanied children at the facility who want to be transferred to the mainland.
Leclerc was on Lesvos when the clashes broke out. “The situation can only be improved if enough people are moved to the mainland. This means that available accommodation in the rest of Greece should increase,” he said.
In the meantime, authorities need to improve access to healthcare and education for as long as they remain on the island, he added. “This is especially [the case] for children.”