Greece will not be a ‘gateway’ to Europe for Afghans fleeing the Taliban, officials say | global development

Greek officials said Greece will not become a “gateway” to Europe to Afghan asylum seekers and called for a unified response to predictions of an increase in the number of refugees arriving in the country.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, spoke to Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about the development of the situation in Afghanistan this week. “We cannot let millions of people leave Afghanistan and come to the European Union…certainly not through Greece,” Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarashi said last week. The country just completed a file A 25-mile (40 km) wall along its land border with Turkey And the installation of an automated surveillance system with cameras, radars and drones.

Asylum seekers from Afghanistan have made up 45% of arrivals on the Greek islands so far this year, according to Numbers From the United Nations refugee agency.

In June, Greece declared Turkey a “safe third country” for people from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This provides the legal basis for deciding an inadmissible asylum application. The decision sparked outrage from several NGOs and rights groups including the International Rescue Committee and the Greek Refugee Council, who, in a joint letter, pointed That most people from countries such as Afghanistan have a “high recognition rate of international protection”, and demanded “immediate rescission of the decision.”

Afghan asylum seekers and refugees in Greece are anxiously awaiting news from their relatives back home. Ali* lives in the Lesbos refugee camp but most of his family, including his parents, remain in Kabul. The 21-year-old’s asylum application was recently rejected in Greece. Ali said Afghans on Lesbos now hope to have their asylum claims reviewed. Really hope that the situation Afghanistan And it affects our asylum issue.” “We hope to have a positive decision on our asylum because the situation in Afghanistan now, as you know, is very bad and we cannot go back.”

Marion Buchtel of the Legal Center on Lesbos told the Guardian that Greece’s decision to classify Turkey as a safe third country for refugees was a “serious and serious misapplication of the concept of a safe third country enshrined in EU law”.

She said: “Turkey is not a safe third country for migrants and does not offer asylum seekers the possibility to be recognized as refugees or to be protected from refoulement. Afghans already represent nearly 75% of the population in Mavrovoni camp on Lesbos and the majority of asylum seekers on the Greek islands. Most of them are families and have been They have already been rejected in the asylum procedure on the basis of this assumption Turkey It is a safe third country for them.

“Given the gravity of the situation in Afghanistan, there is no doubt that more Afghans will soon flee and move on the Eastern Mediterranean route through Turkey and Greece in search of safety and asylum.”

Last week, hundreds gathered outside the Greek Parliament in Athens to protest against Taliban control of Afghanistan. “We are here to raise the voice of Afghans, the millions who are left and suffering,” said Naqib*, 32, a refugee who used to live in Moria camp on Lesbos.

“We are also here to raise the voice of women again in Afghanistan. The Taliban are equal to the terrorists, they do not respect women or women’s rights.

Naqib, who has worked with US forces and international NGOs in Afghanistan, said it was important for Europe to take in Afghans to save lives, but that it also had to stand up to the Taliban. “We need to get to the root of the problem,” he said.

Parwana Amiri, 17, who lives in a tent outside Athens said: “This is the last time they call Afghan refugees economic migrants. Everyone’s lives are in danger, it is very difficult for women and girls. People are trying to get here but there is no chance to escape. Because the Taliban do not allow people to leave easily.

Greece says it is not ready to face the same crisis it faced in 2015. This means that other EU member states should start resettling and give newcomers a chance to get here. We have suffered in refugee camps, but it is better than the mouth of death.”

The Guardian reached out to the Greek Migration Ministry to comment on Turkey’s designation as a safe country for Afghans, but received no response.

*were the names Changed on request to protect identities.

This article was modified on August 26, 2021 to correct the spelling of the surname Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

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