UNHCR reduces aid in Greece amid concerns about EU-Turkey deal

International aid organizations said Tuesday that they are reducing services on Greek islands because migrant reception centres have been turned into detention sites as part of the EU-Turkey migration deal.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Doctors Without Borders had been supporting Greek authorities on islands where hot spots had been set up to register migrants and refugees and to help them after their sea journeys from Turkey.

"Under the new provisions, these sites have now become detention facilities," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday in Geneva, adding that such a policy runs counter to UNHCR principles.

While the UN Refugee Agency has suspended some of its activities at these centres, including transport services, agency officials will continue to monitor these sites to make sure that human rights standards are upheld, Fleming said.

Doctors Without Borders, who have been providing hygienic and medical services in the Moria hotspot on Lesbos, will suspend work there to protest the status of the migrants.

"Women, children, entire families are now not allowed to leave their barracks. If that isn't detention, what is it then?", a Doctors Without Borders spokesman told dpa.

An agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow of people across the eastern Mediterranean went into effect midnight Saturday.

Under the deal, up to 72,000 Syrian asylum seekers will be returned from Greece back to Turkey. In exchange, the EU has agreed to resettle up to 72,000 Syrian asylum seekers out of Turkey.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
Author: 

More from Europe

Dutch populist Wilders guilty of hate speech - but no penalty imposed

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech for leading a chant against Moroccans...

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a...

Police say 98 clubs impacted in child abuse investigations

Police say 98 clubs are impacted and 83 potential suspects have been identified in allegations of non-recent child...

One in six workers in EU earns low wages, according to report

Nearly one in every six employees in the European Union is earning the lowest of wages, according to the European...

Ukraine moves to ban imports of Russian books

The import of Russian books into Ukraine would be sharply limited under new legislation passed in the Ukrainian...