Greece: Unaccompanied minors face dire conditions


Greece: Unaccompanied minors face dire conditions

The recent death of a 15-year-old unaccompanied minor in Moria has once again highlighted the plight of young refugees in Greece. As refugee numbers swell, those minors are becoming increasingly vulnerable…


Firuzeh* left Iran in 2012 when she was 8 years old, long before the current refugee crisis. After a long journey that took her to Turkey, Lesbos, the region of the Peloponnese and Athens, and after a period of homelessness, she arrived in Thessaloniki where she still lives. Her first impression of Greece is still vivid.

“I was surprised to see women in public without their veil; it was the first time that I saw that. I was also very surprised by the graffiti on the walls because this is not allowed in Iran,” she says.

Even though Greece has always had refugee flows, the current infrastructure to accommodate them wasn’t created until after 2015. Yet there were shelters for children like Firuzeh. The House of Arsis where Firuzeh still lives is one of them. Since it opened in 2007 as an emergency shelter on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, it has housed 317 children, Greek and foreign refugees, who were victims of abuse or neglect. It has a total capacity of 20 children and three emergency spots open at all times.

Read moreChild refugees in Greece sell sex for smugglers’ fees

Firuzeh has been living there for several years and for her it’s home. It’s the place where she comes back after her hip-hop dance classes and where she feels safe.

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