©UNHCR / Jared J.Kohler
Syrian refugees arrive in Jordan. Some carry belongings, others carry children.
In the afternoon of 12 November, UNHCR received information that around 150 Syrian refugees, among them many families with children, were being held in police custody in the area of northern Greece, after crossing the Evros river earlier that day. Members of the group of refugees, as well as persons claiming to be their relatives, reported the presence of some 70-80 persons in the yard of a church in Praggi village, near Orestiada, and of another group of 80-90 persons in a near-by forest.
Following communication with local police authorities which could not confirm the facts, a UNHCR team visited Praggi, during the early evening hours of the same day. The team was informed by eye witnesses that a group of about 80 foreigners, previously at the village’s church, were seen taken on police vans to unknown destination.
Despite UNHCR’s repeated contacts with the Greek Police at local, regional and central level, it was not possible to trace the whereabouts of the two groups of Syrians. Until now, these two groups have also not arrived in the First Reception Centre, in the region of Fylakio/Kyprinos, in Orestiada for registration and screening purposes, as foreseen by national law in force for new arrivals.
UNHCR reminds that newly arriving third country nationals should, in accordance with the provisions of Law 3907/2011, be referred to First Reception procedures for their proper registration, identification, profiling and coverage of essential needs, before their administrative treatment is further decided.
Particularly with respect to people fleeing Syria, UNHCR has addressed repeated appeals to States to facilitate access of refugees to safety, and to avoid returns to countries neighbouring Syria that face presently the largest burden of hosting over 2,2 million Syrian refugees.
UNHCR urges the competent Greek authorities to investigate the fate of the group of 150 Syrians who were reported to be in the area of northern Evros on 12 November 2013. UNHCR requests their immediate referral to State procedures in accordance with the law.