World Bulletin/News Desk
The European Union's senior immigration official criticised Greece on Tuesday for refusing asylum to Syrian refugees and detaining other migrants under "unacceptable" conditions.
Greece, the main gateway into the EU for migrants from Asia and the Middle East, arrested more than 8,000 Syrian refugees last year for illegally crossing into the country.
Most hope to make their way to northern Europe but many have ended up trapped in the financially-ravaged nation where rights groups say they face arrest, detention for long periods and even deportation.
"We can all watch every day atrocities going on in Syria and in all other member countries there is almost 100 percent recognition rate of them as asylum applicants and they are given protection or some temporary permission to stay," EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said.
"In Greece it is almost 0 percent. This of course has to change and I've been given assurances by the minister that this will change," she said after meeting Greek Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias in Athens.
Greece rejected 150 asylum applications from Syrians last year and approved only two, the UN refugee agency has said. It denies deporting Syrian refugees but says it is obliged to detain anyone who crosses it borders illegally.
"Many regular migrants and asylum seekers are still not treated in a dignified way and are kept under unacceptable conditions," Malmstrom said.
"In many detention centres the conditions there are still inappropriate and detention is applied to everybody without discrimination."
Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2013, 11:20