Alt. Migration Minister Mouzalas: About 1,200 unaccompanied children refugees remain in unsuitable venues

About 1,200 unaccompanied children refugees remain in hotspots, accommodation centers and even police stations around Greece, waiting for a spot to open in specially built venues, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said on Tuesday during a press conference in Athens.

Mouzalas was presenting a new center purposely built for minors in the area of Peania in eastern Attica which he said forms part of the solution. “We are very concerned about protecting those children and our weakness often makes us buckle,” Mouzalas told journalists.

“There are children we cannot accommodate yet. This is something that is burdening us. We’re making a great effort. We know we have a lot of work to do, we try hard, we cannot say when and how we’ll achieve it, but we will achieve it,” he added.

The center in Peania was created by the migration and labour ministries, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and NGO Doctors of the World. It is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

According to the minister, the government is also considering opening accommodation spaces in former orphanages, old schools and “safe places” inside existing centers. “This will take us about a year,” he said.