UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concerns over increased limitations and fresh asylum restrictions imposed by European countries, urging EU member nations not to close their borders from the flow of migrants coming through Greece.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for Ban said that the secretary general hopes that the EU countries realize their responsibility toward the refugees and that he is deeply concerned over the fresh restrictions imposed on Afghan asylum seekers and that the refugees must not be discriminated against.
Ban voiced concern on Friday about increasing border restrictions in the Balkans and Austria for migrants and refugees streaming toward Europe and urged all countries to keep their frontiers open.
Dujarric said the restrictions were not in line with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees “because individual determination of refugee status and assessment of individual protection needs are not made possible.”
In response to fresh border restrictions, hundreds of Afghan refugees staged a demonstration in Greece in protest against restrictions imposed on them by the Macedonian and Serbian governments.
Dujarric added that Ban, “calls on all countries to keep their borders open, and to act in a spirit of responsibility sharing and solidarity, including through expanding legal pathways to access asylum.”
Dujarric said Turkey is hosting more than 2.6 million refugees and asylum seekers, and the influx to Greece from Turkey continues unabated.
“All the people you are seeing around here, we came from Afghanistan, we took a lot of risk from Afghanistan coming to here and we hoped to get to Germany and all the people around here are looking to get to Germany. But when we came here the borders, the Macedonian borders closed, we are really disappointed, we are hopeless, we are homeless.” An Afghan refugee Mukhtar Ahmad said.
Hundreds of refugees with majority of them women and children have spending uncertain future in Greece amid fresh restrictions.
“I don’t know, I think Europe made a huge mistake, especially (German chancellor Angela) Merkel, bringing all these refugees. To solve the problem is were it is originated. You solve them where they are, in Afghanistan, in Syria. And Syria we know the situation, we cannot help them. But you don’t bring them here and cause all these problems. And look now, they closed the border for all the Afghan people. What these people going to do here? Greece does not have enough money to help these people, even if the United Nations give them, and they said they will give them, but what are you going to do with these problems?” a Palestinian volunteer Hamza said.
It seems that the Afghan government is also unable to address the concerns of Afghan refugees in Greece.
“Fresh border restrictions in the Balkans is a clear violation of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. We call on the international organizations and human rights organizations to mount pressure on these countries who have signed the convention to deliver on their pledges and avoid closing their borders to refugees,” Islamuddin Juraat, spokesman to the ministry refugees and repatriations said.