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Twice as many illegal immigrants are willing to voluntarily return to their countries

09 August 2012 / 17:08:02  GRReporter
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"First, we believe that these people should be housed in reception centres rather than in detention ones and they should offer humane conditions. We must not forget that these people are on the streets, which makes them easy victims of any kind of exploitation. That is why we say we need to establish reception centres like those available in all European countries. Secondly, screening of immigrants should take place there, which should basically happen when they are crossing the border. A large number of them have the right to international protection and Greece is obliged to provide it. Unaccompanied children, victims of trafficking, refugees fall within these categories. The rest should be given the opportunity of voluntary return. If they do not want to return, the receiving country may extradite them."
The Head of mission stated that a discussion with Turkey at the European level should begin. "The majority of immigrants, not to say all of them, enter Greece by crossing Maritsa River and the area of Evros and the Turkish border. If this flow is not stopped, all efforts will be in vain. The problem with the increasing number of immigrants began after Turkey changed its visa regime with these countries. The moment citizens of these countries do not need a visa to get there, traffickers’ prices drop. They get money just to take them from Istanbul to the border and the price is very low. As a result, we have this increase. Therefore, we think we have to convince Turkey to reintroduce a visa regime for the citizens of countries of North Africa and Southeast Asia."

Daniel Esdras added that the programme provides those, who return, with the opportunity of starting over in their homelands.

"We help some of them to find a job. Unfortunately, money is not enough to help all of them and the selection depends on various criteria such as marital status, whether they belong to lower social groups and others. In practice, we finance the opening of a new job or help them to open a shop, to irrigate their fields and other similar measures. This is the essence of the programme because no person living well in his or her country will decide to emigrate.

In addition, the people who return are probably the best carriers of the message to their fellow citizens not to go into the unknown in such a blind manner. Traffickers lie to them that when they arrive they will find work and earn money. But the people who return can warn them that some die along the way, while others starve, cannot find work and become victims of exploitation."

At the same time, the protest of the local government and the public in the region of Xanthi, who oppose the government's decision to use the two police schools in the city as a temporary detention centre for immigrants, is ongoing. "The establishment of new centres will continue. We understand the reticence of local people, but the security measures in the centres are very strict," said sources from the ministry and added that all human rights are respected in the centres.


Tags: PoliticsSocietyIllegal immigrationProgramme for voluntary returnInternational Organization for Migration
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