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75% of the islands migrants population is from Afghanistan, says Greek Migration Minister

75% of the islands migrants population is from Afghanistan, Greece’s Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said on Tuesday adding that if the Afghan migrants are transferred to the mainland  they will have no right to be returned to Turkey.

In a meeting with EU Migration Commissioner Yiva Johansson, Mitarakis pointed out at the “explosive situation” in the Greek islands, the need for the immediate funding of new infrastructures and EU’s assistance fro returns – notably in Afghanistan.

The minister reportedly explained to the Commissioner that 75% of the island population is from Afghanistan. that Greece is bound by the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration to return mainly migrants through Turkey, thus with a geographical limitation: Afghan migrants who are transferred from the islands to the mainland have no right to be returned to Turkey.

A joint EU communication with Afghanistan provides for direct returns and this is what Greece wants to take advantage of.

“We called for the European Commission’s solidarity and support to block the islands and to finance the structures needed to tackle the crisis in order to reduce the problems in local communities and provide human living conditions for migrants,” Mitarakis said.

Regarding the new closed “multi-funtional centers” for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. the Greek Migration Minister said that asylum seekers cannot be detained for more than in the first 25 days. However, there are migrants who violate Greek laws and therefore are detained, he added. He stressed that the country hopes that procedures will be very short and there will be no problem with the European legislation.

Commissioner Johansson referred the issue to the Commission’s legal experts.

the new European proposal for a s-called “migration pact” is expected in early March.

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