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At this turtle pace, “Europe will need 18 years to fulfill its relocation commitments” to Greece

Europe has a proven record of failing to fulfill its commitments towards the Refugee and Migration Crisis. The much celebrated agreements of October 2015 and March 2016 have been forgotten long ago. Institutions and member-states have laid back and keep purring contently like cats after a meal with tuna. They think, they did what they had to do and did it fully aware of the responsibility that lies on their shoulders: sit down, talk, negotiate, put a signature in a piece of paper and … forget about it, leaving 60,000 refugees stranded in Greece.

The relocation scheme does not work. Some countries have not relocated any refugee so far, other have fulfill only 5% of the people they had pledged to assist.

By August 2016, only 3,000 refugees were relocated form Greece to EU countries, when the target was 6,000 per month or 30,000 in the time period April to August.

With this turtle pace, “Europe will need 18 years to fulfill its relocation commitments,” says Amnesty International in its latest report.

AI’s calculation is apparently based on the 60,000 refugees currently in Greece. And nobody knows, how many will still come in the next eighteen years.

Amenity International Blog post by Steve Symonds, AI’ representative in UK.

Greece: Almost 60,000 refugees stranded in appalling conditions as Europe fails to act

A year after EU leaders agreed on an emergency relocation scheme to share responsibility for asylum-seekers, almost 60,000 people remain stranded in appalling and unsafe conditions in Greece, Amnesty International revealed in a new report published today.

The UK shamefully refused to take part in the programme. Austria, Hungary and Poland have not relocated any asylum seekers so far. Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia and Spain have relocated less than 5% of the people they pledged to assist.

The report, Our hope is broken, provides evidence of people, mainly from Syria, suffering from severe health problems, acute stress and depression, many separated from their loved ones. This includes a brother and sister, who fled ISIS in their wheelchairs and are now living in a remote refugee camp on an abandoned military base north of Athens. It also includes information about Yezidi women who had fled attacks by ISIS in which many women were raped and tortured and are now living in unsafe refugee camps with no lighting and no separate showers and toilets.

The report also details that there are more than 1,480 unaccompanied minors in detention centres or camps across Greece waiting for shelter.

Steve Symonds, refugee programme director for Amnesty International UK, said:

Greece has become a warehouse of souls – just what its Prime Minister warned about in March. The appalling conditions facing women, men and children trapped there in limbo is a result of the shameful collective failure on the part of European leaders.

“All should be pulling together to deal with a level of refugee migration that is embarrassingly small compared to that experienced by many far poorer countries in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa – firstly by implementing their promises to relocate asylum-seekers from Greece.

“Theresa May spoke at the UN Summit about the importance of a truly global response to the refugee crisis but not agreeing to support the relocation of the tens of thousands stranded in Greece, including those desperate to be reunited in safety with family in this country, flies in the face of this empty rhetoric.”

Amnesty is calling for European countries to increase the number of relocation places, speed up the process, grant humanitarian visas and establish fast-track and accessible family reunification procedures. At the current rate it will take 18 years to fulfil the relocation commitments made a year ago.”

AI press release

AI report Messages from Greece: Our Hope is broken

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  1. The EU has become a selective compliance union. It’s become a club of uneven “partners” with some having more rights and less obligations then others. If you’re strong enough and you don’t like something, you don’t have to accept it. If you’re not, then it’s shoved down your throat and you’re lectured about what a loser you are to boot.

    The EU doesn’t have much of a future if it continues down this undemocratic path.

    • To be precise, the EU is actually collapsing because its rule of law is no longer applied. Hungary was the first criminal country to do this in recent times, although the idea of selective compliance was started by the UK, Denmark and others with their demands for specific exemptions from this or that policy. Hungary just decided to do the same for a pre-existing law, which also happens to be international law. Basically, the only hope for the EU is to start expelling deviant states: this is already suggested by the Luxembourg Foreign Minister.