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  • A group of refugees in the Moria camp on the Lesbos island, Greece, March 04, 2020.

    A group of refugees in the Moria camp on the Lesbos island, Greece, March 04, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 March 2020
Opinion

Thousands of refugees have been reaching the Greek islands since Turkey opened its borders on Feb. 29.

On Wednesday morning, over 400 migrants were at the Mytilene port on the Lesbos island waiting to embark on a ship of the Greek Navy that will serve as a temporary shelter.

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This ship was transferred from the Piraeus port to prevent the Moria refugee camp from getting even more congested, for there are already more than 20,000 refugees living there.

This provisional measure would have been requested by the local authorities to face the migration crisis.

Since Saturday, one day after Turkey canceled the immigration agreement with the European Union and opened its borders, thousands of people have been reaching the Greek islands.

Migrants embarking on the vessel will not have the right to request asylum. The Greek government has suspended this fundamental right arguing that it faces a massive movement of population and not individual arrivals.

The decision of the Greek conservative government, which is headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has been severely questioned by humanitarian organizations due to its lack of legal support.

"Neither the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees nor the European Union legislation on asylum and refuge provide any legal basis for suspending the acceptance of asylum applications," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees​​​​​​​ (UNHCR) said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the news about the vessel was spread like gunpowder in the Moria camp, which led to some 2,000 people moving to the Mytilene port.

Nevertheless, after waiting for several hours, refugees realized that they will not be transported to mainland Greece as they would have longed for​​​​​​​.

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