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Four day hunger strike of refugee children

01 September 2009 / 17:09:34  GRReporter
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The conditions under which children refugees are detained in Greece shocked the UN, several human rights organizations and every human living in the 21st century. Locked in Lesbos, Chios and Samos are refugee children.

After a hunger strike this week a check was done by representatives of the General Secretariat of the UN in Pagani, Lesbos Island. There are more than 850 people in this center, including 200 children without a companion, mainly from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.

This center was made for 250-300 people but only in one room the UN representatives have found more than 150 women and 50 young children. Many of them are sick, because of the conditions under which they are living. This threatens the health of the refugees and the health of the staff working in the center.

To answer the criticism the Greek authorities assured that they will move all children to another center, where the conditions are better. Last year dozens of refugee children went on a hunger strike in a similar center in Lesbos and in this way, showed the need for change. Back then in 2008 the UN General Secretariat called for a change in the organizational system and the conditions of the centers, by asking Greece to protect children's right. The new check, one year later, showed that none of the request have been met.

Only in 2008 the Greek coastal guards have detained 146 thousand illegal immigrants and 2 600 of them are children without parents. Detaining refugee children contradicts with the international requirements and Greece needs to ensure normal living conditions. "The government is trying to make room in specialized asylums, where children will be placed but the number of detained immigrants exceeds numerously the places in the centers." The UN is actively participating in the financed by the EU project for improving the life conditions of detained children refugees on Samos, Chios, Lesbos Islands and around the Greek-Turkish border.

The 1990 Child Rights Convention, ratified from Greece in 1993, requires Greece to ensure protection and humanitarian help for all children without parents and guardians, including the ones seeking for an asylum and children are priority number one. According to this convention detaining can be used "as an extreme measure and not for a long period of time."

Dilyana Ivanova.





Tags: SocietyNewsCrime newsUNEURefugeeIllegal immigrant
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