Greece opens new immigration holding camp on the island under stricter policies

Athens — Greece said Saturday it will open a new camp for immigrants on Samos Island near Turkey, and other new facilities will continue in the coming months to strengthen immigration policy.

The minister, who opened the camp, said he would provide “lost dignity” to those seeking protection. Aid groups said the new facility for asylum seekers and deportees looked like a prison with fences covered with barbed wire.

The Mediterranean country was at the forefront of the European immigration crisis of 2015 and 2016, when millions of refugees fled war and poverty from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly via Turkey.

Since then, the number of arrivals has declined, but with thousands of asylum seekers stuck in Greece, the conservative government that came to power in 2019 has become more enthusiastic about migration.

The entire European Union will build a 40km (25 mile) fence in the Ebros region of the Turkish border and two facilities this summer on Samos and Lesvos to replace the previously crowded camps. Started bidding.

“We have created a new, closed and controlled access center that is modern and secure, regaining the dignity lost to those seeking international protection,” said Greek Immigration Minister Notis Mitarachi, launching a new camp. Said.

Approximately 450 of the 7,500 people who lived in another camp will move to the new facility on Monday.

Mr Mitarachi said the new camp, which can accommodate 3,000 people, would contain and return or deport illegal immigrants. He said the other two centers would be ready on Kos and Leros within a few months.

“It’s a prison for us,” said Iorgos Karagiannis, mission director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), about the new camp. “This is a declaration of harmful policies preferred by EU leaders over care, guidance, and secure asylum.”

Greece has deported, returned and relocated thousands of migrants and refugees who have been stranded for years, primarily on remote islands in the Aegean Sea.

According to Ministry of Expatriates data, the number of asylum seekers in August was 42,000, about half that of a year ago.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has fueled fears of a new wave of refugees. Greece has stated that it will not allow the reappearance of the 2015 immigration crisis and hopes for a joint European response.

By Alkis Konstantinidis