Refugee families at Athens' airport. Credit: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU
Refugee families at Athens' airport. Credit: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

The Greek government launched a special newsletter aimed at keeping citizens properly informed on all issues related to its management of the ongoing refugee crisis in the country.

Greece has come under fire from various human rights groups, Greek media and the general public with the way it has handled the migrant crisis. 

A newsletter will now give local and international media, as well as ordinary citizens, detailed information on what the government is doing to handle the issue. It is produced by the Secretariat for Communication Management of the Ministry of Digital Telecommunications and Information Policy.

Amnesty International and HRW criticize government 

Only a couple of weeks ago both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch heavily criticized the government's so-called "containment policy" which was keeping "thousands of asylum seekers trapped in crowded and filthy processing centers on the Greek Islands, with many spending the winter in lightweight tents or even sleeping outside on the ground". 

"One of our central priorities for the immediate future is the implementation of major infrastructure projects in the islands, in cooperation with the local government, aiming at enhancing everyday life of the inhabitants who are in the front line during the ongoing refugee crisis," Dimitris Vitsas, Minister of Migration Policy, told reporters. He also added that the government was seeking to speed up the procedures for examining asylum applications. 

Vitsas added that the Ministry for Migration Policy "will continue to vigorously defend the values of humanity and solidarity," while supporting asylum seekers as well as local communities that have made significant efforts at this time to manage the situation. 

Publication to be quarterly 

The refugee newsletter will be issued on a quarterly basis, focusing on individual sectors and the initiatives of those involved in its management, with the aim to give the media and public at large a "fuller picture" of what is going on. 

The newsletter will also include detailed data on refugee flows from 2016 onwards, from the Asylum Service (the consideration of requests in Grade A and B stages), the European Relocation and Reunification Scheme, health actions (vaccination, refugee access to health services), initiatives to prevent violence, and violence against women, refugee access to public education, and refugee funding issues. 

Fotini Pandiora, head of the Special Secretariat for Communication Crisis Management, added: "We want to activate and maintain open communication channels so that we all remain socialists, but also help in the effort to give true dimensions to the status of the refugee issue."

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