At the initiative of the shadow minister of Immigration Policy Giorgos Psychogiou and the signatures of a total of 35 SYRIZA MPs, a question was submitted to the Minister of Immigration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis on the important issue that has arisen from the Government’s decision to force the hosted refugees to leave their accommodation within 30 days of the positive decision on their request, without providing them with any support at all.
According to SYRIZA, with Article 111 of Law 4674/2010 (A ’53), the Government chose to abolish the six-month adjustment period for those receiving refugee and supplementary protection status by sentencing them, in combination with the complete devaluation and degradation of integration programs, to homelessness and misery. It is this government policy that has led to what happened in Victoria Square, while the phenomenon has begun to spread throughout the country, completely indifferent to them, the local communities and the image of the country internationally. In fact, the manipulations of the Government have provoked the reactions of most of the Municipalities of the country, which recognize the value of smooth coexistence and the benefits offered by the accession policy to social cohesion.
Thousands of recognized refugees, most of them families with children, have literally found themselves on the street, since to date there has been complete indifference for the implementation of the programs and actions envisaged in the National Strategy for Integration (ESE). It is recalled that according to ESE, the accession process starts from the submission of the application for international protection and gradually escalates until it is subject to refugee status, when the HELIOS Program takes effect with a six-month period in which the necessary supplies are completed so that refugees can be and function as equal members of society.
However, to date, the Government has devalued and downgraded all accession actions for language learning, training and integration into the labor market, while not continuing the process of recording skills in structures so that it can update and design new targeted programs. After all, all the previous period it has been systematically dismantling the integration policies, while it has never asked the European Union for funding for such actions, as the SYRIZA government did.
Moreover, the government’s inaction on the issue of accession is also denounced in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ announcement dated 2/6/2020 entitled: “The High Commission calls on Greece to activate a security net and opportunities for integration for the recognized refugees”.
The pretext that this is a measure that will help decongest the islands is empty of content as it is now clear to Greek society that the Ministry has no intention of decongesting the islands. He views the humanitarian shame that occurs on the islands as a means of indirect deterrence, ignoring the dangers to the lives and dignity of guests, while at the same time mocking islanders and instead of decongestion, closed centers-prisons for thousands of people and many more are being planned from the National Budget.
It is worth noting that from July 2019 until today, and while the population of the islands exceeds 33,000, the development of accommodation facilities in the interior has not been foreseen neither in structures, nor in apartments, nor in hotels. In fact, through his statements, the Minister states that after 12/2020, the solution of the hotels to cover the reception needs will stop being used.
While the risk of COVID-19 spreading is still high, the Department of Immigration instead of preparing for a possible new wave of virus recurrence in the fall, leaves refugees helpless to end up in city squares. The government has not clarified what its plan is, other than general references to the HELIOS program, but without giving further details on the available positions of the program, nor on whether there will be an alternative support framework for those who, although entitled, can not participate in the program./ibna