Rights groups urge Greece to scrap EU-Turkey migrant deal
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Human rights and migrant welfare groups are urging Greece to scrap its part of a deal between the European Union and Turkey, designed to reduce unchecked migration to Europe from the east.
In a statement Thursday, 20 groups sharply criticized the winter living conditions in Greece’s eastern Aegean island migrant camps, where asylum-seekers are held under the 2016 agreement. The statement called for all camp residents to be moved to mainland Greece or other EU countries.
The deal foresees Greece containing migrants arriving illegally from Turkey on the islands until their bids for asylum in Greece are processed. Theoretically, if the applications are rejected, Greece could then return Syrians to Turkey and other migrants to their homelands. But this rarely happens.
Turkey is also supposed to discourage migrants from heading for Greece under the deal.