Syrian refugees stranded on Lesbos launch hunger strike
April 24 2017 01:39 PM
Refugees in Lesbos
Refugees in Lesbos

Dpa/Athens

A group of Syrian refugees stranded on a Greek island launched a hunger strike in protest at the long processing of their asylum application, witnesses told dpa on Monday.

The 14 Kurds from Syria, sitting wrapped in blankets in front of the asylum bureau at Moria camp on Lesbos, have been refusing nourishment since Friday.

Their application for shelter in the European Union had been rejected in the first instance, and their appeal has been taking months to process.

Police refused to comment on the report, but protests occur regularly in Greek island camps, where 13,800 refugees are waiting for their status to be resolved under miserable conditions.

The island camps are so-called hotspots for the processing of refugees who arrive from Turkey.

While thousands had been arriving daily at the peak of the 2015-16 migration wave on the Balkan route, the numbers dwindled to nearly zero since the affected countries closed their borders 14 months ago.

Not a single migrant had landed on the Aegean islands since Sunday, officials said.

The hotspots and the processing of refugees are a part of a deal the EU struck with Turkey, which agreed to hold them on its soil in return for aid and benefits.

However, people continued to arrive in smaller numbers, but steadily, overland through Bulgaria. Nearly 8,000 are presently stranded in Serbia, unable to continue through the tough Hungarian and Croatian borders. 



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