Politics, Europe

Watchdog urges Greece to free refugee children

Unaccompanied children being kept in unhygienic police cells, says Human Rights Watch

Magda Panoutsopoulou   | 14.04.2020
Watchdog urges Greece to free refugee children

ATHENS

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday initiated a campaign for the release of hundreds of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Greece locked up in police cells.

“These places are totally unsuitable for children, unhygienic, with no access to natural light, while kids often sleep on dirty mats and blankets on the ground and are forced to stay with adult detainees,” Eva Cosse, a researcher for the watchdog, told Anadolu Agency.

The organization also documented that children had faced ill-treatment by the police.

At least 331 children are reportedly under police custody waiting for transfer to a shelter.

With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these children face serious health risks, the watchdog said in a statement.

The Greek side maintains they are keeping children under protective custody.

The campaign with the #FreeTheKids urges Greece to fulfill its obligations to these children and create a more child friendly environment.

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