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.
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.