The suicides took place near Greece's border with North Macedonia, seen here | Photo: Imago/Zuma Press
The suicides took place near Greece's border with North Macedonia, seen here | Photo: Imago/Zuma Press

Two asylum seekers in northern Greece have committed suicide. The two men, an Afghan and an Iraqi national, were found in the village of Mouries near the Greek border with North Macedonia.

The two men had each hanged themselves over Christmas, a local charity said on Thursday morning. "We have terrible news from Mouries ... two young men committed suicide yesterday and today," the Greek Forum of Refugees said in a statement.

The Afghan national was found on Wednesday hanging near a bridge in the village, while the Iraqi man was discovered by his roommate. It was unclear whether the suicides were in any way coordinated with each other. Both men were in their early 30s; the Agence France-Presse news agency meanwhile reported that the Afghan national was the father of two children.

The statement further specified that the two had been living in a hotel, which was housing between 350 and 400 refugees.

Migrant situation in Greece reaching boiling point

The situation for migrants and refugees in Greece remains precarious. More than 40,000 asylum seekers are currently being held in camps on the Greek islands alone, according to Greek authorities. They often have to live in desperate conditions, as camps are overflowing way beyond capacity.

There are thousands of underage migrants among the migrant population of the camps as well. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has drawn attention to the particular plight of children in the Greek camps, and voiced fears that some are suicide risks.

Although the Greek government has launched efforts to alleviate the situation by moving several thousand of the migrants to camps on the mainland and planning to transfer further migrants next year, the situation on the mainland is often just as unpleasant. According to recent reports, the new arrivals on the Greek mainland suffer more hostility from locals than they did on the Greek islands, were locals have become used to their presence.

Greece was overwhelmed by the so-called refugee crisis which started in 2015, as tens of thousands of people arrived on its islands after making perilous crossings in barely seaworthy vessels via neighboring Turkey. Most of the migrants come from war-torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan as well as from other conflict-ridden nations such as Iraq and certain parts of Africa.

with AFP

If you are suffering from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website:

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