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Refugees are at risk in Greece, committee says

Presenting her report on 'Refugees at risk in Greece', Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) said that "the European Union, supposedly based on solidarity, co-operation and respect for human rights and the rule of law, has failed to provide adequate support or to ensure that responsibility is shared more equitably amongst other member States. It has tacitly supported the closure of borders along the Western Balkans route and concluded the 16 March Agreement with Turkey."

The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons agreed that Greece has been left bearing a grotesquely disproportionate burden simply because of its place on the map; yet in every other respect it is perhaps the least-well placed of all European Union countries to bear this responsibility.

The Committee was particularly concerned by the conditions in reception facilities on the mainlaind, which were far below acceptable standards, the exposure of vulnerable persons, including women and children, held in hotspots to violence, exploitation and abuse and the possible return of asylum seekers to Turkey under the EU-Turkey agreement, despite the fact that such returns appear incompatible with EU and international law.

It adopted a draft resolution with a view to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of refugees and migrants, to support the Greek authorities and society in their efforts to respond to the current challenges and to reinforce solidarity between European countries in response to what must be accepted as a European, global and not only a Greek problem. It particularly calls for the prompt and full implementation of the September 2015 agreements on relocation from Greece and the provision of seconded national staff to support the Greek asylum service.