Last Update 22:50
Sunday, 22 September 2019

UN's Ban on Greek migration visit

AFP , Friday 17 Jun 2016
Ban Ki-moon
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016 (SPIEF 2016) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 16, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1037
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1037

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday arrived in Greece for a first-hand look at the migration crisis that has rocked Europe for the past year, including a visit to the flashpoint island of Lesbos.

Ban, who is on a two-day visit, was taken to an Athens solidarity centre providing medical and legal assistance to vulnerable groups and will later meet with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

On Saturday, he will fly to Lesbos to meet with some of the thousands of refugees that are stuck in the country, hoping for asylum and facing an uncertain future.

"I continue to stress the need for providing assistance and support to those rescued, ensuring adequate reception condition and access to asylum for those in need of international protection," Ban said in a message to state agency ANA ahead of the visit.

"The rights of men, women and children who were forced to leave, have to be protected at all times, in law and in practice," he said.

The government says over 56,000 migrants -- including over 3,400 on Lesbos -- have been trapped in Greece after Balkan states begun shutting their borders in February to stem a growing influx into wealthy northern Europe.

Most of them are now in state-run camps that aid groups including the UN refugee agency have labelled poorly equipped and inappropriate for a long stay.

Lesbos and other eastern Aegean islands last year were the gateway into Europe for a migration wave unseen since the Second World War.

According to UN figures, Lesbos alone accounted for around 500,000 arrivals in 2015.

A migration deal between the EU and Turkey put into effect in March has drastically reduced the flow, but at the cost of human rights violations according to rights groups.

Since March 20 when the deal came into force, over 460 migrants have been sent back to Turkey, where critics say they face discrimination and possible danger.

And a relocation programme promising to move successful asylum claimants to other EU states has made little headway.

On Friday, medical aid group Doctors Without Borders cited the agreement as one of the reasons behind a decision to stop accepting EU funds.

"MSF announces today that we will no longer take funds from the EU and its member states in protest at their shameful deterrence policies and their intensification of efforts to push people and their suffering back from European shores," the group said in a statement.

Ban's visit to Athens concludes a European tour that also took him to Brussels, Moscow, Saint Petersburg prior to Athens.

It comes as Ban enters the final months of his tenure as UN chief and as the United Nations prepares to host a major international meeting in September on the world refugee crisis.

World leaders are to agree on a new global plan to resettle refugees at the September 19 meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.