By Damon Mitchell • 11 May 2020 • 15:53
ACCORDING to Portugal’s Socialist Party lawmaker Isabel Santos, Portugal is to take up to 60 unaccompanied children from Greek refugee camps within the next few weeks as concern mounts over the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the vulnerable group.
At least 5,200 unaccompanied minors live in Greece, many of them under harsh conditions in camps on islands in the Aegean. Human Rights Watch said the Greek authorities had not done enough to address the “overcrowding and lack of health care, access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene products” in the camps to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Portugal said it was willing to take in some children as part of a voluntary European scheme to relocate around 1,600. Other countries, including Germany, Ireland, France and Luxembourg, are also involved in the initiative. The first relocations took place last month when 12 minors were transferred to Luxembourg and Germany welcomed around 50 children.
Santos, who said Portugal was the first country to offer assistance to Greece, was critical of the European response to the issue, saying the relocation scheme “had failed” since its introduction.
“These children live under bad conditions,” she said. “They live in refugee camps with the triple, quadruple and in many cases up to five times the population they are able to accommodate.”
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