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EU/Greece: Pressure to Minimize Numbers of Migrants Identified As ‘Vulnerable’

Naima, Greece
June 5, 2017

From Human Rights Watch:

(Brussels, June 1, 2017) – People with disabilities and other at-risk groups go unidentified on the Greek islands as the European Union inappropriately presses Greek authorities and medical aid organizations to reduce the number of asylum seekers identified as “vulnerable,” Human Rights Watch said today. The EU, and the Greek government, now prefer to contain all asylum seekers on the Greek islands. Before the new policy, asylum seekers identified as “vulnerable” were allowed to be transferred to the mainland to have their cases handled there. During a visit to Greece from May 16 to 20 2017, Human Rights Watch met with representatives from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Commission, the Greek Asylum Service (GAS), local and international aid and medical organizations, lawyers, volunteers, and asylum seekers. Many of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch described indirect political pressure, in the form of multiple communiqués, to reduce the number of “vulnerable” asylum seekers and other migrants trapped on Greek islands, including people with disabilities, victims of torture, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Read the full press release from Human Rights Watch