NRC voices concern over ‘unworthy refugee response in Greece’

TEHRAN, Sep. 12 (MNA) – The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in a press release has expressed urgent concern about the unworthy response by Greek authorities to the present dramatic refugee situation.

“Today we are too often prevented from providing effective assistance to refugees arriving in Greece. All European countries have the responsibility to treat refugees according to international standards, and national political challenges are no excuse. Faced with the urgent humanitarian challenge, international humanitarian actors must be allowed to provide assistance” says Benedicte Giæver, Director of the Emergency Deployment Department of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The humanitarian situation for refugees and migrants in Greece, in particular on Lesvos and other islands close to Turkey, is dramatic and requires immediate action and decision making by local and national authorities. Thousands of people are arriving by boat every day, and are not being cared for according to international humanitarian standards. Many refugees have been waiting for two weeks without access to safe places to sleep and basic sanitation facilities.

“We are aware of all the challenges Greece is facing, logistically, financially and politically. Still, Greece is a developed country with human and administrative resources. The authorities should cooperate with the international community and help protect refugees and migrants in need of help,” says Benedicte Giæver.

Giæver has visited Lesvos this week, inspected conditions for refugees and migrants, and met with Greek officials. She applauds Greece’s decision to speed up the registration process for Syrian refugees on Lesvos so they are able to leave the island and continue their journey to other European countries, which authorities promised in meetings with NRC and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Prompt implementation of a faster registration process on Lesvos is crucial. Giæver is worried about political hurdles to expediting registration and poor cooperation between Greek authorities on several Greek islands. If registration continues to be a bottleneck, tension will rise further between frustrated and desperate refugees and local authorities and communities.

NRC calls on the European Union and associated states to urgently present a unified humanitarian response to the current refugee emergency, including relocations of people in frontier states such as Hungary and Greece. “Greece will not stand alone. NRC, UNHCR and other humanitarian actors are ready to help Greece protecting people in need”, says Giæver.

 

MS/PR

News Code 110024

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