"I am writing to you to express Human Rights Watch’s deep concern at the dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children detained in ‘protective custody’ in police station cells and pre-removal detention centers across Greece," Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia Division Hugh Williamson said.
Williamson called on Mouzalas to accommodate detained UAC in the open facilities, and provide them with adequate living conditions and access to basic services.
International law, as well as Greek law, stipulates that the detention of unaccompanied children should be considered a last resort measure, Williamson recalled.
Many countries in the Middle East and Africa are marred by conflicts that force people to flee their home countries or seek asylum. Hundreds of thousands of migrants are trying to reach European countries by various routes through Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Balkan states. According to recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) data, a total of 11,280 migrants have arrived in Greece since the beginning of the year.