A letter sent by Human Rights Watch to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called for unaccompanied asylum seeker children held at police stations to be taken to safe conditions.
As of 30 April 2020, the number of unaccompanied minors held at the police stations was estimated to be 276 as they waited to be taken to the migrant camps, according to the National Centre for Social Solidarity.
Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch Eva Cossé added the following: “The Prime Minister should act on his pledge to protect unaccompanied children and make sure that hundreds of vulnerable children are freed from dirty, crowded cells, sometimes alongside adults, where they are exposed to the risks of Covid-19 infection. There is no excuse for failing to give these children the care and protection they need”.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are not allowed to be arrested for immigration. In addition, UNICEF also points to the need to release children held in police stations due to the danger posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially because of migration, and to end such practices.
There are over 5,000 unaccompanied children who are seeking asylum in Greece.