MSF urges Greek government to stop evictions of vulnerable refugees

Athens, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Monday urged the Greek government to stop evicting vulnerable refugees after many were left sleeping on the streets during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The humanitarian NGO said an increasing number of people with severe health problems have been expelled from their accommodation or been threatened with this action under a government scheme to evict 11,000 refugees.

It warned that pregnant women, victims of sexual abuse, victims of torture, elderly people and families with children were among those who have been forced onto the streets.

“Sending vulnerable people to the street, especially during a pandemic, is inhumane and non-sustainable,” MSF added in a statement.

The Greek government has been granted European Union funds to enlarge the country’s accommodation scheme on the mainland in a bid to improve conditions at migrant camps on many of its islands.

“Yet to find a quick solution for the congested camps on the islands, the eviction of more than 11,000 recognised refugees has begun,” MSF said.

Hundreds of refugees, including heavily pregnant women, have been forced to sleep rough in Athens without shelter, food or access to any support, MSF warned.

“In the middle of a global pandemic, governments should be protecting and shielding people at high risk of Covid-19, not throwing them out onto the streets and leaving them without protection, shelter or access to basic healthcare,” Marine Berthet, MSF medical coordinator in Greece, said in a statement.

“We have patients with cancer, survivors of torture, single mothers with chronic diseases and heavily pregnant women who are essentially being told to sleep rough, without any support.”

The Greek government passed a law in March that reduced the period of notice for refugees in supported accommodation from six months to 30 days.

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