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Σάββατο, 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

GREECE: Fence and Frontex teams will not curb inflow of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers


In the beginning of October the Ministry for Citizen Protection began to examine the quotes submitted by 14 construction firms to build the controversial fence along Greece’s land border with Turkey in Evros.

There are, however, very strong doubts as to whether the 5.4 million Euro project will serve much of a purpose in deterring the entry of asylum-seekers and other irregular migrants.
It has already been proven time and time again that when confronted with new obstacles, smugglers simply instruct asylum-seekers and other irregular migrants to change their routes.
On 18 October 2011, a migrant was found dead in the area of Sofiko in Orestiada, Evros. The man, of African origin, probably fell into the river and died of hypothermia.
So far this year only a few hundred irregular migrants entered Greece through a small stretch near the town of Nea Vyssa because of the deployment of more men and machine to guard this part of the country’s external border. Last year, around 25,000 irregular migrants entered Greece through that same area.
One of the alternative routes is crossing the Evros River. There have been an increasing number of irregular migrants doing so, with the greater risk of death by drowning.
On 18 October 2011, a migrant was found dead in the area of Sofiko in Orestiada, Evros. The man, of African origin, probably fell into the river and died of hypothermia.
Earlier, in the second week of October alone, the bodies of three asylum-seekers/irregular migrants were discovered in the Evros River, near the area of Lavara and a fourth body was also found in the same area.
The preliminary police report referred to death by drowning, probably caused by the bad weather conditions.
On the same day of the macabre discovery, on 10 October 2011, the body of one more migrant was found in the rural part of Orestiada.
It is believed that smugglers no longer guide irregular migrants into Greek territory because of the risk of being arrested. Instead, they put migrants on dinghies and abandon them, which can explain why there have been so many deaths by drowning.
It should be noted that although the number of irregular migrants apprehended for trying to cross into Greece illegally appears to be falling with some 36,000 arrested in the first nine months of this year, compared to 47,088 for the whole of last year, there has been a sharp increase in the number of those arrested in southern Evros.
17,716 irregular migrants were apprehended in southern Evros in the first nine months of 2011, compared to 5,448 in the same period in 2010, or an increase of around 250%.