Greece Mulls Expansion of Mainland Refugee Camps
Greece plans to expand its mainland refugee camps in response to a spike in arrivals. The government has held discussions with the European Union, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.
The increased flow of people across Greece’s northern land border with Turkey has prompted a shift in thinking in Athens.
Last year the bulk of arrivals were contained on the Eastern Aegean islands but the Evros crossings have overwhelmed facilities in northern Greece.
“Practically, this means tents will be set up between the containers, exacerbating the already difficult situation for the residents,” an unnamed aid official told Kathimerini.
In April 6,632 refugees crossed into Greece, with a total of 16,478 people arriving in the first five months of the year. The sea and land border arrivals broke down to 9,375 arrived on the islands and 7,103 from the Evros border.
Tensions between Greece and Turkey have complicated efforts to block or push back refugees and migrants along the Evros border, resulting in a huge expansion in arrivals.
Afghan Returnees Face Severe Lack of Protection and Returns Must Halt
Afghan refugees returned to Afghanistan face a “severe lack of protection.” The warning comes from a regional human rights body working with local civil society groups.
Returnees face chronic problems with employment, land access, education, identification, threats from warlords and the self-styled Islamic State of Khorasan Province, child marriage and terrorism.
“The sheer abundance of issues facing returnees indicates that Afghanistan is not able to absorb yet more refugees to return in safety and dignity,” said a statement from the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN).
Those returned from Iran, in particular, are said to face conditions that make it impossible to return to their notional home, and many have never set foot in Afghanistan before.
“For the vast majority, they have become – and will remain – internally displaced persons (IDPs), forced to live in another city for safety and security.”
Bangladesh Chasing Half-Billion Dollar Rohingya Grant From World Bank
The World Bank is considering awarding a grant to Bangladesh to help with the Rohingya refugee crisis. The amount of the grant has not been announced but it is reported to be up to half a billion dollars.
The World Bank, which has supported other refugee host countries like Jordan with subsidized loans has been forced to consider a grant. If the payment is confirmed it would mark a further escalation of the Bank’s engagement with refugee situations.
“The World Bank has agreed to provide Bangladesh the full fund as grant money at its spring meeting held in April in the U.S.,” a senior Bangladesh government official, Mahmuda Begum, told the local Daily Star.
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