AEGEAN SEA

The Greek government has announced plans to install floating barriers in the sea between its Aegean islands and the coast of Turkey to prevent illegal migrants from reaching the country.

Amnesty International on Thursday criticised Greece’s plans to deploy a floating barrier, as the international rights group’s research director for Europe, Massimo Moratti, described the idea as “an alarming escalation in the Greek government’s ongoing efforts to make it as difficult as possible for asylum-seekers and refugees to arrive on its shores.”

Greece’s Defense Ministry has invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer (1.7-mile) long floating fence within three months.

A government official told The Associated Press the contract process would be executed by the Defense Ministry but was for civilian use, similar to the military’s supply of equipment for housing in refugee camps.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said there would be returns every Friday, with an aim to have 10,000 returns in 2020.

Speaking on the Greek news, Petsas said the floating barrier system “will have to be tested to see whether it will safely bring the results we want.”

Nearly 60,000 reached the islands by boat last year, almost double the total in 2018. That has led to severe overcrowding in migrant camps on the islands.

 

*Main source: AP

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