UNHCR High Commissioner Lepri: Greece has Ignored Proposals for Helping Migrants at Camps

Friday, January 27th, 2017
Last Update: 12:48
Photo Credit: Forrest Crellin

On Thursday Giovanni Lepri of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spoke to reporters claiming that the UN had given Greece’s Migration Ministry three proposals on three different occasions detailing how to deal with the overcrowded migrant reception centers throughout the country. Lepri says that even after the three proposals Greece never responded and that the Greek authorities have essentially ignored proposals on how to best handle migrants and how to better their living conditions at the camps.

One focus of the proposals was the Moria camp on the Aegean island of Lesvos, which is considered one of the hotspots for the migrant crisis. Overcrowded and insufficient housing accommodations have left many migrants out in the cold and snow as the winter months have brought below zero degrees temperatures to Greece.

Reporters asked Lepri to comment about recent accusations by the European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, where he stated that aid groups are partially to blame for delays in wintering the camps and providing better shelter options for the migrants during the harsh winter months. Lepri said that the commissioner was partially correct in his statement, but that ultimately, the task at hand rests in the Greek authorities hands, and that they could have gone forward with the proposals by the UN regardless of aid groups involved.

One suggestion that Lepri is totally opposed to that was made by the Greek authorities is setting up closed facilities — or detention centers — which would house migrants accused of crimes. Lepri was adamant that the UNHCR would not condone such centers and would not support such actions.

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