Athens, May 27, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
His satisfaction at the evacuation of Idomeni expressed the deputy minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Toskas, who visited the informal settlement in the afternoon, accompanied by the deputy Secretary of the ministry Tzanetos Filippakos and the leader of the Greek Police, Lieutenant Konstantinos Tsouvalas.
“We did not come for celebration, we came to see the now different situation. The whole operation was carried out as planned, and as it should. That is, with respect for the basic principles of humanity, for those people who came here persecuted, either to save their head, or to find a better life”, Toskas stressed in his statements and added: “We did not prevent them from going wherever they wanted. Greece is not the one that made the fences. But we have to manage a situation. Humanitarianism does not dictate that we should keep these people there with any lure, at the mudflats of Idomeni. Humanism dictates that they must be in organized in places where the state and whoever others complementary can meet their basic needs. This is our aim. And, in parallel, to organize any transport to other European countries in accordance with the rules and agreements in force”.
As the deputy minister said, “our aim was to create dignity for these people, but also not to impede the operation of the state, the railway line, the fields cultivated by the local community”. And this, as he pointed out, “happened in the best possible way, without any violence, and the refugees and migrants themselves understood that it was in their interest to go to organized camps where they will have much better living conditions than at the fields of Idomeni”.
After the completion of the operation, the efforts of the authorities and competent bodies will focus in the camps, where “conditions should be improved furhter”, Toskas said, explaining how this will be realised with overall government effort. “The Migration Policy ministry is responsible for all the immigration issue and has contributed much, the ministry of Defence has contributed to the infrastructure, we the Citizen Protection ministry, is the overall government effort to create a system that works well”, he said.
He noted further that those who are in other informal settlements will be moved as well, while asked about the fact that some left on their own, he said: “Around 5000 were moved or are on their way to organized camps, another part was moved at the eve of the operation – they were afraid wrongly, but this perhaps what they had learned – to informal settlements and some in organized camps”. Toskas thanked all those who collaborated in this effort, among them, all the police forces that worked hard to achieve this result.
In regard to the fact that it was not allowed reporters to cover the operation (excluding photojournalists and camera crews of the Athens News Agency and the ERT workshop), Toskas noted that “this is how it happens in the while world” and explained: “we feared that things might not have gone smoothly. It would not have been safe for you and too difficult to conduct the operation. That was the only reason preventing you from being here”.
Journalists entered the camp of Idomeni yesterday, accompanied by the police, and were allowed them to move along the railway tracks and the rest of the areas.