Poll: Most Greeks over­es­ti­mate refugee num­bers

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Most Greeks grossly over­es­ti­mate the num­ber of refugees stranded in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a new study which, how­ever, found that the ma­jor­ity view the in­te­gra­tion of new­com­ers in a pos­i­tive light.

Ac­cord­ing to the poll car­ried out by AboutPeo­ple on be­half of VouliWatch, an in­de­pen­dent par­lia­men­tary watch­dog, six in 10 Greeks think that there are cur­rently more than 100,000 refugees in Greece. Half be­lieve the num­ber is larger than 200,000, ac­cord­ing to the same fig­ures. Of­fi­cial data show that fewer than 62,000 are in Greece. The fig­ures were re­leased to­day on the oc­ca­sion of In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion, com­mem­o­rated an­nu­ally on March 21.Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, 72.8 per­cent said refugee chil­dren should be granted ac­cess to Greek schools, while 60.1 per­cent said young refugees should join Greek pupils’ classes. 55.7 per­cent of re­spon­dents said refugees who are trapped in Greece for an ex­tended pe­riod of time should move into apart­ments and 35 per­cent said they should re­main in camps. A to­tal of 60.4 per­cent said they would not mind if refugee fam­i­lies moved into their block.

“A first un­de­ni­able con­clu­sion is that Greek cit­i­zens are start­ing to have a re­al­is­tic view of the re­al­ity for refugees and, more specif­i­cally, what it means liv­ing next to us, in our cities and not in the iso­lated camps,” said An­dreas Takis, as­sis­tant law pro­fes­sor at Thes­sa­loniki’s Aris­to­tle Univer­sity and a for­mer gen­eral sec­re­tary for mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

Mean­while, a Turk­ish ac­tivist has claimed that con­di­tions at camps in Turkey, home to some 3 mil­lion refugees and mi­grants, are well be­low Euro­pean stan­dards. “Pre-de­par­ture cen­ters have prison con­di­tions. Refugees are stuck in a room 23 hours a day, there are no in­ter­preters and there have been prob­lems with de­mands for le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” De­man Guler, a mem­ber of the non­govern­men­tal Lawyers for Free­dom or­ga­ni­za­tion, told Kathimerini af­ter vis­it­ing to the is­land of Lesvos. “Women and chil­dren be­come vic­tims of labor and sex­ual ex­ploita­tion,” said Guler.

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