Official data on mi­grants un­re­li­able

Reg­u­lar trans­fer of refugees on the main­land means ac­tual fig­ures are un­clear

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The official data with re­gard to the num­ber of mi­grants at re­cep­tion cen­ters on main­land Greece have proven to be un­re­li­able as they are sig­nif­i­cantly less than pre­vi­ously thought.

The dis­crep­an­cies are mainly due to the reg­u­lar trans­fers of mi­grants from camp to camp. A point in case is the camp at Malakasa, out­side Athens. Official data yes­ter­day put the num­ber of mi­grants and refugees there at 483. But ac­cord­ing to vol­un­teers there are less than 200, as many have left due to the cold weather. More­over, the official statis­tics re­gard­ing the num­ber of mi­grants that are not at re­cep­tion cen­ters or camps and whose where­abouts are un­known change by the week.

On De­cem­ber 30, ac­cord­ing to the official fig­ures, there were 8,500 mi­grants and refugees in At­tica who did not live at camps and cen­ters. This num­ber dropped to 7,200 on Jan­uary 11, while yes­ter­day it rose to 7,300. Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to the Asy­lum Ser­vice, Greece re­ceived 4,415 re­quests from EU coun­tries to take back mi­grants as it was the first coun­try of en­try.

Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Yian­nis Mouza­las has faced wide­spread crit­i­cism for in­sist­ing that mi- grants can­not be moved from over­crowded camps on the Aegean is­lands to more spa­cious fa­cil­i­ties on the Greek main­land as such a move could un­der­mine a deal be­tween Tur­key and the EU. He is also seek­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with lo­cal author­i­ties on the is­lands for the cre­ation of “closed” cen­ters to ac­com­mo­date mi­grants who have been linked to crime.

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