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Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.   © 2015 Kelly Lynn Lunde
(Athens) – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis should demonstrate that he intends to put protecting human rights high on his agenda, Human Rights Watch said in an open letter to the new prime minister released today. Mitsotakis took office on July 8, 2019, following his party’s success in the July 7 national elections.

Human Rights Watch highlighted areas of concern and urged Mitsotakis to take action to end abuses against unaccompanied migrant children, other asylum seekers and migrants, and children with disabilities.

“The new prime minister should outline how he intends to guarantee human rights for everyone in Greece,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “A first priority should be ending the scandalous and abusive detention of unaccompanied children in police lockups and detention centers.”

The new government should:

Mitsotakis has said that he wants to turn processing centers on the islands into detention centers and speed up asylum procedures and returns to Turkey. This is not an option, Human Rights Watch said, as the only way to increase the number or speed of returns to Turkey would be by weakening safeguards against abuse and illegal returns and breaching Greece’s duties under EU, refugee, and human rights law.

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