Migrant detention conditions slammed

first_imgThe prolonged and systematic detention of migrants and asylum seekers in Greece is having devastating consequences on their health and human dignity, a leading international medical humanitarian organisation has said.In a report, entitled Invisible Suffering, released by Médecins Sans Frontières, the organisation, which has been providing independent medical and psychosocial care in Greek detention centres since 2008, highlights the massive impact of detention on the physical and mental health of migrants. The report also points out the gaps in healthcare provision and the absence of medical assessments, which lead to detainees with serious medical conditions being neglected or even being forced to interrupt their treatment.Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) stated given that Greece currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), the European Union must stop turning a blind eye to these unacceptable practices in view of their serious medical and humanitarian consequences.“Over a period of six years, we have carried out more than 9,900 medical consultations inside detention centres and police stations where migrants and asylum seekers are held,” said Dr Apostolos Veizis, MSF’s head of mission in Greece to the Greek daily Eleftherotypia.“But despite our repeated calls for improvements to detention conditions and migrants’ access to healthcare, we have seen little change, while the overall situation continues to deteriorate.”Thousands of migrants detained in Greece for lacking the correct paperwork, including some asylum seekers and teenagers, are held in often appalling conditions without access to basic hygiene and regular medical care, according to the medical aid group, which accused the Greek state of causing “unnecessary suffering and harm”.In the report, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, expressed “grave concerns” and urged Greece to “put an end to the systematic and indiscriminate use of detention” for migrants found in the country without the correct documentation – many often picked up during random checks after living in Greece for years.Respiratory and skin diseases abound, exacerbated by unsanitary, crowded conditions, the group said, and detainees were displaying increased mental health problems including suicide attempts or extreme forms of protest such as sewing up their mouths.Throughout the system, migrant detainees lacked access to basic items such as clothing, clean bedding and personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and detergent, MSF said.Greece is one of the main entry points for migrants trying to gain access into the European Union. Tens of thousands make the journey each year, either attempting to cross over land from Turkey, or heading to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast, often in rickety boats that break down or sink. In mid-2012, the Greek government launched a crackdown on illegal migration, nicknamed Operation Xenios Zeus, in which tens of thousands of migrants were rounded up from city streets for identity checks. Those found without resident permits or refugee papers were sent to detention centres pending deportation.More than 6,000 people are held in migrant detention centres pending deportation, MSF said. Hundreds, possibly thousands, more are held in police holding cells where conditions are even worse.Source: ekathimerini, enetenglish Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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