Saturday, July 25, 2015

UN agency urges Greece to assume full responsibility for refugees

The UN Refugee Agency ( UNHCR) said Friday that it was extremely concerned about the situation in Greece, which has been hosting more than 100,000 refugees this year, said a UN spokesperson at a daily news briefing.

"The country is experiencing real hardship, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate. The agency said that in some situations, local volunteers and tourists were doing more for refugees than the Greek authorities," said Eri Kaneko, the UN associate spokesperson.

Greece, in spite of all its difficulties, needs to assume full responsibility for the refugee population, of whom only 5 percent stayed in the country, with the majority moving across the Balkans to Germany and Nordic countries, said Kaneko, citing UNHCR's appeal.

The agency also hoped that Europe needs to take more robust action to support Greece.

UNHCR is assisting the Greek authorities on the ground, providing water, hygiene kits, and interpreters.

Some 60 percent of those arriving in Greece are Syrians coming from Turkey. Most people were coming from the Turkish coast to about 10 Greek islands. Other refugees included Afghans, Iraqis and sub-Saharan Africans, said the agency's spokesperson, William Spindler, who suggested Greece assume its responsibility.

Greece has been mired in a debt crisis since 2008. It started to veer toward bankruptcy in 2010 and received two international bailouts, most of which had been used to pay off Greece's debt instead of boosting the economy. So far, the country's economy has shrunk by a quarter in five years, and the unemployment is above 25 percent.

   Source:Xinhua -

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