Greece: migrant children held in bug-infested cells

Sep 09, 2016, 5:47 AM EDT
Migrants at border line of Macedonia and Greece
(Source: Freedom House/flickr)

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, migrant children are being illegally detained in deplorable and depraved conditions in Greek detention centers. The New York-based watchdog interviewed 42 children to find that the detainees as young as 14 were made to live in cramped, filthy conditions, sometimes without mattresses or access to showers.

The report, entitled “Why are you keeping me here?” raises serious questions over “callous” inaction by E.U. countries, reports The Guardian. The report calls on Greek authorities to stop violating international law and to scale up efforts for the transfer of unaccompanied minors to other E.U. countries through relocation and family reunification.

Rebecca Riddell, the author of the report, says the conditions in the camps are worse than at police stations, with no facility of counseling, legal or psychological aid for migrant children, writes The Wall Street Journal.

Greek police say that high influx of migrants and overcrowded shelter system leaves no option for them but to place children in so-called protective custody until suitable accommodation is available. The Council of Europe’s special representative on migration and refugees, Tomáš Boček, had earlier called the absence of any alternatives to detention, a structural flaw in the Greek system.