Greece still failing unaccompanied migrant minors says Human Rights Watch

HRW highlighted the case of the Lesbos camp of Moria, the largest of its kind in the Aegean, where it has found 20 children who said they had been wrongly registered as adults.
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director at Human Rights Watch | AP
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director at Human Rights Watch | AP

ATHENS: Greece is failing to adequately care for many unaccompanied migrant minors, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, citing the case of an island camp where violence has broken out in recent days.

"The misidentification of unaccompanied migrant kids on Lesbos as adults leads to real problems, including lumping them together with unrelated adults and denying them the care they need," the group said in a statement.

"Greek authorities need to take responsibility for properly identifying unaccompanied children and providing them the protection and care every child needs," it added.

HRW highlighted the case of the Lesbos camp of Moria -- the largest of its kind in the Aegean -- where it has found 20 children who said they had been wrongly registered as adults.

Some are as young as 15.

The camp has recently witnessed recurring clashes between police and mainly African migrants facing deportation to Turkey after a long, fruitless wait for asylum.

On Tuesday, some 30 Africans were arrested after allegedly setting fire to tents, cars and other equipment and clashing with police.

In March, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas told the European parliament there was "major hypocrisy" leveled against Greece on the matter, given the stance of other EU states.

The minister said there were some 2,200 lone migrant minors in the country, and complained that EU states had only accepted to relocate just 650 of them.

"What are we supposed to do with the rest of them?" he wondered.

HRW on Thursday said there were over 1,100 unaccompanied migrant children still waiting to be given appropriate shelter.

The UN's refugee chief Filippo Grandi last month said that Europe's programme for relocating the influx of migrants to the continent has been a "disappointment," just as the EU began legal action against three eastern European nations for refusing to take in their share.

By the start of June, fewer than 20,000 of 160,000 refugees had been relocated under the solidarity plan put in place in 2015 to try to remedy Europe's biggest migration crisis since World War II and ease the burden on frontline states Italy and Greece.

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