Source: Government of the Netherlands
The first Greek-Dutch shelter for unaccompanied minors on the Greek main land became operational the end of September. The Greek authorities selected 16 girls and teenage mothers for accomodation in the shelter. After the standard health checks, the Greek have planned to transfer these girls October 9th latest. Dutch Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol (Asylum and Migration) took a digital tour through the shelter Thursday, which is fully operational.
The shelter, developed as part of the Greek-Dutch programme to strengthen the reception and guardianship capacity of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers, is the first of three. This programme was made possible thanks to close cooperation between the Greek and Dutch authorities, and ngo’s Movement on the Ground and the HOME Project. Minister Broekers-Knol has made necessary funding available.
‘This shelter is a visible result of the fruitfull coorperation between the Dutch and Greek government, We trust that many unaccompanied minors will find a safe home here the next three years.’
The Greek alternate minister of Migration and Asylum Giorgos Koumoutsakos and Eirini Agipidaki, the Greek Special Secretary for unaccompanied minors, also welcome the opening of the shelter, as part of the ongoing Greek effort to provide all unaccompanied minors shelter on the main land.
Following the fires on Lesbos and the destruction of the Moria Registration and Identification Centre, the Greek authorities already swiftly transferred all unaccompanied and separated minors from Lesbos to the mainland. They are currently accommodated in temporary accommodation, with the support of the European Commission and IOM. Additionally, the Greek government has decided to transfer all other minors from the Greek islands. Most of them arrived on the main land already.
During their stay in the shelter, the girls, and if applicable their baby’s, will receive psycho-social care, health care, education, legal assistance and other activities to ensure their well-being and development. Arrangements have been made with a local school, making it possible for them to start their education as soon as possible.
In line with the strengths of both organisations, Movement On The Ground will oversee the operations of the facilities and contribute with future skills-building programming for the children. The HOME Project will be responsible for the operations and provision of child protection services within the shelters. The shelters are small scale to ensure a homely environment.
The next two shelters are for unaccompanied minor boys and are expected to open as soon as possible later this year. They will also provide a place for sixteen children each, bringing the total up to 48 unaccompanied minors. These 48 spaces will remain available for at least three years, so that hundreds of minors in Greece can receive short-term accommodation.