All the illegal immigrants who are in Lesvos today will have left by Easter 2021, Greek Minister of Civil Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis told The Guardian.
“They will all leave. Of the roughly 12,000 refugees here currently, I foresee 6,000 being transferred to the mainland by Christmas and the rest by Easter. The people of this island have gone through a lot. They’ve been very patient,” Chrysochoidis said from Lesvos to the correspondent of the British newspaper.
The minister added that about 70% of asylum seekers in Lesvos are Afghans who will receive refugee status and travel documents.
Chrysochoidis also welcomed the German government’s decision to welcome more than 1,500 people from Moria.
“It’s very generous, very brave,” the Greek minister said, adding that “All over Europe, countries have their own internal political problems around this issue but I also think they [EU states] can see we are protecting the bloc’s borders, we have greatly minimised flows.”
Chrysochoidis also stressed that it is crucial that the illegal immigrants of Moria be transferred to the new temporary camp that has been set up on the island.
“There are groups of Afghans and I am afraid even some human rights organisations who are encouraging thousands of people not to go in,” said Chrysochoidis. “It’s non-negotiable. They will leave the island but they have to go through this new facility and get the requisite legal documents first,” he said.
As for Moria, he described it as a “camp of shame” that now belongs to history.
“Now it belongs to history. It will be cleared up and replaced by olive groves,” said Chrysochoidis, who also denied allegations of violent deportations of other refugees trying to enter Greece.
Moria accommodated almost 10 times that number at its height and was regularly condemned by aid groups for its deplorable conditions, The Guardian explained.