Samos migrant center blasted

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) yesterday called on the government to immediately shut down a reception center for illegal immigrants on the Aegean island of Samos, saying it is woefully overcrowded and dirty. Conditions at the Samos center, built to house 120 but hosting 391 migrants, «are an insult to human dignity and a violation of human rights,» the director of the UNHCR’s Greek office, Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, said. Detainees, mostly Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis, include pregnant women and unaccompanied minors. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros attributed the overcrowding to «a great increase in the influx of immigrants» and said a new center will open on the island in a few weeks. Samos, which handles most illegal arrivals from neighboring Turkey, this year saw traffic increase more than threefold with 3,459 migrants detained in the first nine months of the year, as compared to 1,580 last year.