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15 March 2020 Greece holds 450 refugees in a navy vessel for more than 10 days

The Greek government held 450 refugees, mainly families, in a navy vessel docked at Mytilene port for more than 10 days. The asylum-seekers, who arrived at the Aegean island of Lesbos between 1-14 March, were kept in the ship until 10 March, when they were transferred to a hosting facility in northern Athens. The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum argued that this was a temporary solution for refugee and migrants families arriving to Lesbos, while the rest of the newcomers will be held in police stations or pre-departures centres. On 1 March, Greece announced that it was suspending the right to asylum for a month, given the growing influx of refugees arriving at Greek islands after Erdogan’s decision to open Turkish borders. Thus, the 450 refugees kept in the ship will be likely deported to Turkey with no chances of submitting their asylum applications. This decision by the Greek government has been widely condemned by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the NGO Human Rights Watch as a “grave violation of their fundamental rights”.