02:29 GMT14 April 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) aid group has decided to suspend its activities on the Greek island of Chios due to the lack of access to migrants and refugees in need, claiming the detention facilities are "police-run," a press release obtained by Sputnik on Wednesday reads.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, an advocacy officer with the NRC on the Greek island of Chios told Sputnik that the pace of the enactment of the EU-Turkey migrant agreement was too fast for the Greek authorities to react adequately.

    "We cannot work independently and safely in a police-run detention facility. Now that it is a detention centre we no longer have adequate access to provide assistance to vulnerable refugees," the release quoted Alain Homsy, the head of NRC operations in Greece, as saying.

    According to the NRC, the decision to suspend its activities comes after observing "the practical implications" of the March agreement on migrants between Turkey and the European Union.

    "In order to ensure that refugees are able to exercise their right to seek fair asylum procedures, NRC has decided to continue maintaining an interim protection presence at the Vial ’Hotspot.’ All other activities will be handed over to the remaining actors, including the responsible authorities," the release reads.

    Under the EU-Turkey agreement, the European Union is expected to accelerate Ankara's bid to join the bloc and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and Europe, as well as granting a total of 3 billion euros (over $3.3 billion) to Turkey to help it provide for refugees on its soil. An additional 3 billion euro in assistance to Ankara may be given by 2018.

    Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty. Many of them take the West Balkan route, which crosses Greece, using the county as an entry point into the bloc from which they travel onward to wealthier EU states where they intend to apply for asylum.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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    refugees, migrants, Norwegian Refugee Council, European Union, Norway, Greece
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