Greece says it is to set up two makeshift camps on its mainland to house the migrants that Turkey reportedly allowed into Europe to evoke a response from the continent. Photo via: ParsToday
Palestinian refugees seeking humanitarian asylum on Greek islands have voiced deep concern over their precarious condition as the southeastern European country has announced its intent to build new migrant camps.
Human rights sources said the refugees’ fears have intensified after Greece said it plans to build two new temporary camps to house hundreds of additional asylum seekers who arrived after a surge enabled by Turkey.
"We want to build two closed centers in (the northern region of) Serres and the greater Athens area with 1,000 places," Greek migration minister Notis Mitarachi told Skai TV on Saturday.
"We need the backing of local communities. We cannot leave all (these) people on the islands," he said.
Mitarachi said the camps would host asylum seekers who arrived after March 1, when Turkey announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the European Union.
Mitarachi also said state support for refugees would be limited, and that they would be asked to leave camps after securing protected status.
"Accommodation and benefits for those granted asylum will be interrupted within a month. From then on, they will have to work for a living. This makes our country a less attractive destination for migration flows," the minister said.
Residents of a town in the Serrres region rumored to host one of the camps staged protests earlier this week and local officials declared their opposition to the plan.
Over 1,700 migrants have landed on Lesbos and four other Aegean islands from Turkey over the past week, adding to the 38,000 already crammed into abysmal and overstretched refugee centers.
The new surge has ramped up already high tensions on Lesbos, an island that has been on the migration frontline for years.
Frustration exploded into violence last weekend with mobs setting up roadblocks, attacking cars carrying NGO workers and beating journalists.
Palestinian refugees continue to risk their lives onboard the “death boats” to Greece, rummaging around for a momentary respite from economic hardship and deadly conflicts in the MENA region. Hundreds of refugees have died onboard Greece-bound ships.