EU ups Greece refugee aid after damning report
Thessaloniki (Greece) (AFP)
The European Commission announced 115 million euros in extra funding Saturday to help Greece deal with migrants, a day after a damning report into conditions migrants face.
The new EU money aims "to improve conditions for refugees in Greece, and make a difference ahead of the upcoming winter," said EU aid and crisis management commissioner Christos Stylianides.
The extra funding will focus on improving existing shelters, building new ones but also on helping refugees get access to schooling and providing for unaccompanied minors.
The EU announcement came after Human Rights Watch published a report Friday slamming the "prolonged arbitrary detention" of child asylum seekers in Greece.
"In some cases, children said they were made to live and sleep in overcrowded, filthy, bug- and vermin-infested cells, sometimes without mattresses, and were deprived of appropriate sanitation, hygiene, and privacy," the HRW report said.
More than 850,000 people -- most fleeing conflict in war-ravaged Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan -- arrived on the Greek islands last year, many after risking their lives in unseaworthy boats and dinghies.
Southern EU leaders on Friday called for revised asylum rules to fight the ongoing migration crisis.
A joint declaration signed by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta and host Greece said the European Union should double funding for strategic investment and for additional European experts to help front-line states tackle migration.
© 2016 AFP