Monday, December 6, 2010

Greece: End Inhumane Detention Conditions for Migrants

Human Rights Watch
December 6, 2010

Greek officials should immediately transfer migrants from overcrowded and inhumane detention sites in the Evros region to an empty facility on Samos Island and protect the 120 unaccompanied migrant children among them, Human Rights Watch said today. These migrants have crossed into Greece from Turkey in recent weeks and months, and come from countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Iran, and Morocco.

The number of migrants arriving in northern Greece from Turkey has risen dramatically in 2010. They include asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, single women, and families with young children. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the northern region of Greece during the first week of December and witnessed conditions so overcrowded that detainees cannot even lie down to sleep. Women and children are crammed in cells with men. Toilet facilities are so limited that guards sometimes escort detainees to defecate and urinate in nearby fields. These conditions clearly risk the health and safety of detainees, and constitute inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of binding international law, Human Rights Watch said.

"Authorities told Human Rights Watch last year that they transferred migrants from the islands to the north to prevent overcrowding." said Simone Troller, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. "But now they need to respond to the overcrowding in the north, which is creating dangerous, unhealthy conditions."