EU border agency accused of mistreating migrants


THE EU authorities have brushed off claims by human rights campaigners that European agencies are responsible for exposing migrants to “degrading” conditions in Greek detention centres.

New York-based campaign group Human Rights Watch criticised the work of the EU external border enforcement agency Frontex, which was deployed on Greece’s border with Turkey last year amid concern that the flow of migrants was overwhelming the Greek authorities.

In a new report, Human Rights Watch said Frontex was exposing migrants to “inhuman” conditions because people it apprehended were being kept in overcrowded detention centres.

“Human Rights Watch visited detention centres in the Evros region and found that the Greek authorities were holding migrants, including members of vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children, for weeks or months in conditions that amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment,” the group said.

“For example, the Feres police station held 97 detainees at the time of Human Rights Watch’s visit, though the police said its capacity was 30.”

In Brussels, however, a European Commission spokesman said member states were responsible for the conditions in which detainees were held. The commission had already initiated legal proceedings against Greece over conditions in the centres, he added.