The head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that the EU’s current relocation plan for refugees was “not enough” to address the problem.
Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the current EU plan to share 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece should be expanded over the next two years and “more legal opportunities” should be provided for deportees.
“You can’t have a technical approach to relocation,” he told a news conference in Athens.
“Without a human approach to relocation, this process will fail,” he warned.
He visited the registration camps on the islands of Athens and Lesbos, one of the main landing points for migrants fleeing war and tragedy in the Aegean Sea and the Middle East and Asia from Turkey. .
Dozens of people have died in dangerous crossings on vulnerable boats in the past month alone.
More than 600,000 people have come to Europe this year and the rate seems to be rising as winter approaches.
The International Organization for Migration said on Friday that there was a sharp increase in the number of migrants arriving in Greece, from 4,500 a day at the end of September.
Only Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans are currently eligible for resettlement under the EU relocation program.
Afghanistan, whose country is in conflict, has been excluded.
Guterres said today that the project could be vulnerable to “racial or religious discrimination” as Slovakia and Cyprus have already declared themselves Christian Christian refugees.
The former Portuguese prime minister warned that such statements could only “support the propaganda of IS (Islamic State) or other groups.”
Guterres said “a mechanism that is humane, it is based on dialogue, it is based on persuasion. It is not yet practical.”
“You can’t look at people and say, ‘You go to Germany, you go to Sweden, you go to Romania, you go to Portugal, you go to Spain. Family, connections, preferences,'” he added.
The UNHCR said it was already aware of a refugee family who had been denied the opportunity to relocate to Lithuania, Finland or Luxembourg.