More needs to be done to improve the situation of migrants and refugees on the Greek islands

PACE today expressed serious concern regarding the humanitarian situation of asylum seekers in the centres on the Greek islands as well as on mainland Greece. On the basis of the report by Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly indicated that in the centres of Moria (Lesbos) and Vathy (Samos), large numbers of people were housed with inadequate sanitary installations, insufficient food distribution, a lack of health services, and poor security.

In a resolution adopted today, PACE called on the Greek authorities to rapidly improve the housing, sanitary and security situation inside the reception and identification centres of Lesbos, Samos and Chios; and identify and register all migrants arriving by boat on the Greek islands in order to prevent them from remaining undocumented and thus more vulnerable.

Unaccompanied minors and women should be protected against violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking; better guardianship should be provided for unaccompanied minors who should be allowed to reunite or maintain contact with family members, the adopted text underlines.

The Assembly also called on the Turkish and Greek authorities to increase their efforts to ensure that human traffickers and smugglers cannot act with impunity when moving migrants from Turkey to Greece. The European Union, for its part, should assist Greece in accommodating asylum seekers and refugees, and in establishing better asylum procedures on the Greek islands with expeditious transfers to mainland Greece. In addition, the EU was asked to investigate allegations of misappropriation of EU funds earmarked for refugees in Greece.

Finally, the Assembly recommended that the Committee of Ministers invite Greece and Turkey to continue the readmission of rejected asylum applicants and irregular migrants, in accordance with the bilateral Greek–Turkish readmission agreement and EU-Turkey Statement.