Refugee crisis: Authorities handcuff children, keep them in filthy conditions
London, Oct 15: Scores of minor children who arrive in Greek island of Kos from crisis hit Turkey are kept in filthy conditions in prisons with adults. They are handcuffed and not allowed to go outside.
According to reports, apart from fresh fruit and water that is supplied by charities and aid agencies, they are given only one meal in a day. On at least one occasion children in police detention went for two days without food.
"Children are kept as legal minors for their own safety," Greek officials quoted as saying by the Independent.
"It's really filthy," said a volunteer, on condition of anonymity.
"There is shit on the floor and it is running out of the cell. They have to reach out through bars to receive their food. This is not normal in Europe," added the volunteer.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has also snubbed Greek officials on poor conditions of children and did an agreement with Kos's public prosecutor to keep such children in the care of an NGO, which will run its own shelter for them with UN funding.
Currently a total of 11 children aged between 12 and 17 are being held in two Kos police stations, reported the newspaper.
According to Greek law, children who come without parents and claim asylum in Greece are automatically placed in the custody of the public prosecutor until they can be put under the supervision of a suitable legal guardian.
"The conditions were very poor. It's a horrible cell," said Tim Ubhi, the clinical director of the British organisation Children's E-Hospital said.
Ubhi visited the police cell three times during a recent visit to help refugees on the island.
"The conditions in which the children are held may have a devastating impact on them. "From a physical and a psychological point of view, as well as emotionally, this is quite disturbing," he added.