More than 20,000 refugees and illegal immigrants are stranded on the Greek islands in trailers and tents according to Marion Bouchetel, Advocacy Officer for Oxfam in Greece.
Bouchetel said that unaccompanied children, pregnant women, and people with physical and mental health conditions have to wait over 10 months before they can even meet with an asylum officer to determine what might happen to them, and whether they have any chance of seeing their families again.
“Right now, camps on the islands are dangerously overcrowded. The situation is particularly alarming for women, who are at heightened risk of sexual violence and abuse. EU policy, supported by the Greek Government, aims to trap people on the Aegean islands so that they can be sent to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal, rather than allowing them to claim asylum in Europe” said Bouchetel.
“If the EU continues its plans to set up ‘controlled centres’ for asylum seekers, many more people will be trapped in dreadful conditions. Instead of creating more camps, the EU should reform its asylum system to ensure responsibility for protecting migrants is shared between member states while their asylum claims are processed. No one should be forced to live in these appalling conditions,” she continued to say.