Greece’s refugee time bomb

A long-feared immigration crisis in Greece may already be at hand. Refugee camps on the Greek islands have been overwhelmed by the influx of tens of thousands of Syrians, threatening to create a much wider emergency for Europe. [Der Spiegel]

The proximate cause of the emergency is Turkey. Under an agreement brokered last spring by EU leaders, Greece can send Syrian migrants to live in Turkey. But Greek asylum officials, defying their country’s parliament, are growing unwilling to do so out of fear of Turkish human rights abuses. [Politico Europe]

As deportations to Turkey stall, new refugees continue to pour into the rapidly deteriorating Greek camps in the islands by the eastern Aegean Sea. Doctors Without Borders issued a blistering report about the 60,000 refugees in “appalling conditions,” where children walk without shoes and families live in small tents. [Associated Press]

Earlier this week, migrants in the camps rioted after an ambulance was slow to help a woman struck and killed by a car. Some threw stones at police and set fire to patrol cars. In September, after false rumors circulated that refugees would be deported to Turkey, someone set fire to the tents at the Lesbos camp and left 4,000 people without shelter. [Newsweek]

Anti-refugee forces in Greece are building. The far-right Golden Dawn Party has been connected with vigilante patrols on the borders of the camps, and reporters covering the humanitarian emergency have been attacked. [New Statesman]

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