Reacting to the news, Marion Bouchetel, advocacy officer for Oxfam in Greece, said:
“Thousands of refugees and other migrants are trapped on the Greek islands in trailers and tents that are blazing hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Access to running water is limited. Unaccompanied children, pregnant women, and people with physical and mental health conditions have to wait over 10 months before they can even meet with an asylum officer to determine what might happen to them, and whether they have any chance of seeing their families again. This wait is agonising.
“Right now, camps on the islands are dangerously overcrowded. The situation is particularly alarming for women, who are at heightened risk of sexual violence and abuse. EU policy, supported by the Greek Government, aims to trap people on the Aegean islands so that they can be sent to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal, rather than allowing them to claim asylum in Europe.
“If the EU continues its plans to set up ‘controlled centres’ for asylum seekers, many more people will be trapped in dreadful conditions. Instead of creating more camps, the EU should reform its asylum system to ensure responsibility for protecting migrants is shared between member states while their asylum claims are processed. No one should be forced to live in these appalling conditions.”