Refugee crisis: Greece starts deporting first migrants to Turkey
Greece began deporting failed asylum seekers on Monday, taking the first group of migrants on boats from the island of Lesbos under an EU plan to limit the numbers arriving in Europe. Amid fears of further unrest at detention centres on the Aegean Islands, where almost 6,000 refugees and migrants are awaiting deportation, officers from the EU border agency Frontex escorted 135 people on to vessels bound for Dikili in western Turkey.
Meanwhile, the first 24 Syrian migrants to be transported directly from Turkey to the EU, under the EU-Turkey refugee pact, arrived in Germany, amid Europe-wide political and public concern about the scheme.
The European Commission on Monday said the implementation of the agreement required “huge operational efforts from all involved and most of all from Greece.” As well as the German group it said 11 Syrian refugees had been taken to Finland and others were expected to leave for the Netherlands on Tuesday.
The latest arrivals, due to be followed by 18 more later on Monday, are mostly women and children, transported from Turkey in return for Ankara agreeing to take migrants back from Greece under a controversial EU-Turkey deal struck last month.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is leading the way in receiving the migrants despite widespread domestic concerns that other EU members are reluctant to share the burden. Germany is due to take about 15,000 of an initial quota of 72,000 Syrians coming directly from Turkey, with France and the Netherlands among other EU countries ready to accept arrivals under this plan.
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan