On Saturday, the Greek authorities opened a “closed” camp for asylum seekers on the island of Samos, surrounded by surveillance cameras and barbed wire, which sparked concern and criticism from human rights groups.
In a speech during the opening ceremony, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said that “the new camp has a capacity of 3,000 people, and will provide a good service to the asylum seekers who are there.”
“The new camp will contain sports fields, washing machines and kitchens,” he added.
On the other hand, human rights and non-governmental organizations criticized the new camp, which was said to be subject to strict security measures, arguing that it resembled a prison.
“The new prison camp has been portrayed as a positive development for asylum seekers and migrants, but in reality it is a miserable nightmare that will leave them isolated and vulnerable again,” MSF said in a statement about the camp.
Migrant and refugee camps on the Greek islands suffer from severe overcrowding, lack of services, and slow legal procedures to decide on the requests of arrivals.
The refugee camps on the islands of Lesbos, Kos, Lerisos, Chios and Samos were established under an agreement with Turkey, to host refugees there until their situation is studied.
Greece frequently forces asylum seekers to illegally return to Turkey’s territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, and despite the issuance of many news and reports from international media and relief organizations in this regard, Athens rejects these accusations.