GREECE / GRANDI

29-Nov-2019 00:03:04
At the end of his three-day-long visit to Greece, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said “the higher number of new arrivals in the islands in particular is of great concern” and stressed that the living conditions of asylum seekers are “extremely disturbing.” UNHCR
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TITLE: GREECE / GRANDI
TRT: 03:04
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH

DATELINE: 28 NOVEMBER 2019, ATHENS, GREECE
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and UNHCR Representative in Greece Philippe Leclerc at press conference
2. Wide shot, journalists
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“The higher number of new arrivals in the islands in particular is of great concern and I wanted to see this by myself. I went to Lesvos, as I said. And although the numbers are smaller than they were four years ago, during me first visit, I found the conditions in which people live extremely disturbing.
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“Very inadequate access to basic services, a situation of generalized tension often resulting in violence, especially violence against minors. Violence within the communities themselves, but because of the situation. The most penalized are certainly women and children and especially the high number of unaccompanied children.”
6. Pan left, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“The impact on the local communities is increasing. And the patience, the hospitality, that still characterized very much the response four years ago when I came is now less visible than before. And certainly, there is more reluctance to accept these large numbers of people coming into the country.”
8. Wide shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“There is a children emergency in this country. A children-on-the move emergency in this country that needs to be tackled.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“The government has been using the expression ‘closed sites.’ And the debate has been ‘will they be detention centers?’ So, I made it clear to the government that UNHCR’s policy, not just in Greece, anywhere, is against detaining asylum-seekers. Seeking asylum is not a crime. So, people should not be detained. But of course, the government has a legitimate right to establish control of this population. Control is not detention. If control is detention, then we do not agree. If control is that there is better registration, better discipline in the way the sites are managed, that if of course positive.”
12. Med shot, journalists
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“Europe has to have a new system, that is based more on sharing, on responsibility sharing. And we will continue to promote that with all of European states, or at least some European states. We need to find solutions, because – and Greece needs to help us with that and will help us with that - because it stands to benefit from such a system if the flow, unfortunately, continues.”
14. Med shot, Grandi and Leclerc at the dais
STORYLINE
At the end of his three-day-long visit to Greece, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Thursday (28 Nov) said “the higher number of new arrivals in the islands in particular is of great concern” and stressed that the living conditions of asylum seekers are “extremely disturbing.”

Grandi said there is “very inadequate access to basic services” and “a situation of generalized tension often resulting in violence” affecting “certainly women and children and especially the high number of unaccompanied children.”

Grandi has visited Lesvos witnessing the worsening conditions at Moria Reception Center of Lesvos and talked to several Greek authorities and members of the civil society about the challenges Greece faces.
The increase in arrivals has put a great pressure on Greek islands like Lesvos.

He told reporters that “the impact on the local communities is increasing” and “there is more reluctance to accept these large numbers of people coming into the country.”

Regarding his discussions with the Greek government, the High Commissioner said, “The government has been using the expression ‘closed sites.’ And the debate has been ‘will they be detention centers?’ So, I made it clear to the government that UNHCR’s policy, not just in Greece, anywhere, is against detaining asylum-seekers. Seeking asylum is not a crime. So, people should not be detained. But of course, the government has a legitimate right to establish control of this population. Control is not detention. If control is detention, then we do not agree. If control is that there is better registration, better discipline in the way the sites are managed, that if of course positive.”

He said, “Europe has to have a new system, that is based more on sharing, on responsibility sharing. And we will continue to promote that with all of European states, or at least some European states. We need to find solutions, because – and Greece needs to help us with that and will help us with that - because it stands to benefit from such a system if the flow, unfortunately, continues.”

Greece is currently struggling to cope with a sharp increase in sea arrivals, the highest since 2016. In this year alone, Greece received over 65,000 people, a figure 80 percent higher than last year. In 2019, Greece received more arrivals than Spain, Italy, Malta and Cyprus combined.

The majority are Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi families.
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