Disabled refugees and migrants are not identified, and receive neither the medical assistance they require nor access to essential facilities like toilets, showers, and food, according to the latest report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The report was based on 40 interviews with refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants, and uncovered quite a few issues of concern over the way disabled refugees are treated.
“People with disabilities are being overlooked in getting basic services, even though they are among the refugees and migrants most at risk. Greek authorities, the EU, the UN, and aid organizations should make sure that people with disabilities are no longer an afterthought,” Shantha Rau Barriga, HRW’s disability rights director, said, as cited in the report.
HRW called on the authorities to relocate disabled migrants living in tents to heated homes during the winter months, with temperatures reaching -14C. Human Rights Watch branded the refugees’ plight “a wake-up call for the UN and the EU to start taking the issue more seriously.”
More than 62,000 people live in official and makeshift camps in Greece, and HRW called the overall living conditions there “deplorable and volatile.” As of January 12, 2017, just over 7,400 were moved in accordance with the EU relocation mechanism. And it is only 12 percent of the 66,400 places agreed on two years ago.
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