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Conditions for asylum-seekers in Greece camps negatively affecting mental health: reports

[JURIST] International rights groups have reported [press release] that refugees and migrants housed in Greek camps are cutting themselves, attempting suicide and abusing drugs. According to a report [text, PDF] made by Save the Children [advocacy website] Thursday and a report [text, PDF] by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] Tuesday, anxiety, depression and aggression continue to grow rapidly. According to Save the Children, as a result of the deal between the EU and Turkey to halt the flow of refugees and migrants into Greece, mental health [press release] among these individuals continues to decrease due to the conditions they are facing. Save the Children reports that children as young as nine are self-inflicting harm and attempting suicide. According to Save the Children the camps in which refugees and migrants are housed are overcrowded, forcing them to fight for basic needs such as warmth, clothes, food and water. Save the Children urged the EU and Greek government to end the "unlawful and unjustified detention" of children refugees and migrants, move families into safe environments, and provide children with mental health issues to places that provide care facilities.

Last March EU leaders agreed to a deal [JURIST report] with Turkey to stem migrant flows, particularly of Syrian refugees, to Europe in return for financial and political incentive to Ankara. Under the terms of the deal [WP report], all migrants crossing the Aegean into Greece would be sent back to Turkey, effectively turning the country into the region's "migrant holding center." However, procedures and backlog have essentially stranded thousands of asylum seekers [Reuters report] on five Greek islands, which is double the capacity they can hold. As a result advocacy organizations continue to speak on the rights of refugee and migrant populations. In November experts questioned humanitarian conditions at Greek migrant camps when a 66-year-old woman and six-year-old boy died [JURIST report] in a camp fire. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that the thousands of asylum-seekers confined to the five Greek islands faced fire circumstances due to the irregularly harsh winter conditions. The European Commission [official website] agreed [JURIST report]. HRW also reported in January that Greece is not providing access [JURIST report] to adequate living conditions and medical care despite the significant funding provided by the EU.

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