UNHCR: Great concern over the incidents in Idomeni

UNHCR: Great concern over the incidents in Idomeni

Athens, April 12, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

As an issue “of great concern” referred the statement of the UN High Commission for Refugees on Sunday’s violent episodes and the use of tear gas at the border of Greece and FYROM.

“In recent months we have repeatedly seen erupting tensions in various European border between the security forces, on the one hand, and people trying to escape the war and in need of help, on the other”, says spokesman of the agency, Adrian Edwards, noting that such scenes hurt both the refugees and the image of Europe.

Continuing, the same representative sounded the alarm for “the approximately 46,000 refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece before the Euro-Turkish agreement”. “In Idomeni about 11,000 of them sleep for several weeks in terrible conditions that fuel the desperation and despair”, Edwards says.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees states his readiness to support the “voluntary transport” of people in the places where the necessary registration procedures take place, which he describes as “urgent”. “Meanwhile, in Idomeni, UNHCR together with the Greek government, the Greek NGOs and other partners provide food, medical assistance and support for people with disabilities, as well as for the prevention and tackling of sexual and racial violence”, the statement says.

Finally, UNHCR emphasizes the need for “action” in the context of the “broader solution” that has been agreed several months ago, that is the relocation of those who are entitled to international protection to other European countries. “Violence is wrong, whatever the circumstances. UNHCR hopes that Europe will take the necessary steps now, and we are ready to further assist governments in fulfilling their obligations towards refugees”, Edwards concludes.

On Tuesday the College of Commissioners rules on the measures of Greece on “Border Management”

The evaluation report of the measures, which have been taken by Greece in response to recommendations of the Council in order to address the issue of management of external borders, is expected to adopt on Tuesday the College of Commissioners, according to the deputy spokesperson of the European Commission Mina Andreeva .

According to Andreeva, this assessment is part of the European Commission planning in order to lift the controls at the internal borders by the end of the year. Furthermore, tomorrow will be published the second monthly report of the Commission for the relocation and resettlement.

Asked to comment on the incidents at the border between Greece and FYROM, the same spokesman said that the European Commission continues to send the same message to immigrants who are there: to be transferred to reception centers, where if they fulfill the criteria, they can participate in relocation planning and not to attempt “dangerous” and “irregular” routes. He added that the Commission calls on all concerned “authorities” and “Non-Governmental Organisations” to provide the “right information” to immigrants who are there to prevent “similar incidents”.

As regards the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on the parallel return of migrants in Turkey and the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the EU, the same spokesman said that a total of 325 immigrants who had not applied for asylum in Greece, returned to Turkey and 74 Syrians have been reinstated in EU member states. She declined to say whether there are any scheduled returns this week.

Finally, Andreeva confirmed that Turkey has adopted the necessary legal arrangements so that the Syrians returned there from the Greek islands to be able to request and be granted temporary protection.