A migrant at the Moria hotspot on Lesbos in January 2019 | Photo: Claire Paccalin
A migrant at the Moria hotspot on Lesbos in January 2019 | Photo: Claire Paccalin

Unaccompanied minor refugees and migrants in Greece are at risk of violence and abuse and often live in catastrophic conditions, a new report by the Germany-based organization "Equal Rights Beyond Borders" finds.

The report states that refugees under 18 in Greece live mostly under disastrous conditions. "The few special shelters for minors are far from sufficient. Therefore, many minors are arbitrarily imprisoned or have to face a life on the streets“, the report says.

Written by the legal support organization "Equal Rights Beyond Borders" which works on family reunification cases in Greece and Germany, and published by the Federal Association of Unaccompanied Minor Refugees (BumF), the report concludes that the dire conditions are a consequence of the European "hotspot" concept.

The German government, the report continues, is also partly responsible for these "human rights violations" because authorities are increasingly rejecting applications for family reunifications.

The BumF and Equal Rights Beyond Borders are calling on the German government and the EU to ensure the minors‘ wellbeing and to transfer them to other member states or to reunite them with their relatives.

Camps overcrowded

There are more than 3,500 unaccompanied minors in Greece. Sufficient accommodation and care are lacking; the hotspots on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos are extremely overcrowded. Physical violence and sexual abuse are a common part of the daily life of minors, the report says.

Currently, more than 1,000 minors are documented to be in "precarious living conditions". Nerea Gonzalez from BumF warns that the actual number could be much higher. "Many minors try to escape the situation in Greece by their own means. They’re vulnerable and exposed to violence and abuse."

With material from KNA. 

The report can be found here (in German).


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