The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that the living conditions of refugees at the island of Lesvos are even more worrying than they were four years ago, speaking at a joint meeting of the parliament’s committees on national defense, foreign affairs and public administration on Thursday.
Grandi added that overpopulation, insufficient services and rising violence among residents at the Moria hotspot has not only affected the facility’s youth and unaccompanied minors but has also taken a toll on the local population’s natural drive to hospitality and giving.
He noted how he finds himself in agreement with Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who, during the same session said living conditions there are ‘suffocating,’ and hailed the government’s determination to continue to respond to the challenges of the migration crisis.
The commissioner underlined that improving said conditions must be a priority, and so should be transferring many residents to mainland Greece.
He also called for the “improving the parameters that define the status of refugees, as is the government’s commitment,” and said it is very encouraging that Greece’s government has put the emphasis on unaccompanied minors.
Filippo Grandi pledged to continue supporting the country’s effort on the refugee-migration crisis and stressed that “I am firmly committed to continuing moving forward, as we have in the past. Refugees are the responsibility of the international community and this should become apparent in the contributions of international partners.”
“We will continue working with the (Greek) government so as to achieve a meaningful EU contribution from the European support programs,” he concluded.