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AFP
November 21, 2019

Greece to shut down three largest migrant camps

World

AFP
November 21, 2019

ATHENS: Greece will shut down the three largest of its overcrowded migrant camps on islands facing Turkey, and replace them with new closed facilities with much larger capacity, officials said on Wednesday.

"Decongesting the islands is a priority at this stage," the government’s special coordinator for migration Alkiviadis Stefanis, a former army general and chief of staff, told a news conference. The three camps to be closed, on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, currently house over 27,000 people under terrible conditions that have been repeatedly castigated by rights groups and the Council of Europe. They have a nominal capacity of just 4,500.

The Greek government said it would replace the camps with new closed facilities for identification, relocation and deportation with a capacity of at least 5,000 people each. Smaller camps on the islands of Kos and Leros are also to be remodelled along these lines and enlarged, Stefanis said.

Instead of being allowed to move freely in and out of the camps, asylum-seekers will now be locked up until they are granted refugee status and relocated to the mainland, or they are rejected and sent back to Turkey, officials said.

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