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UNHCR expresses serious concern over the violence on Chios

18 November 2016

© UNHCR/Onofrio D'Amato

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expresses its serious concern over the recent incidents against refugees and migrants at the municipality-run Souda site on the island of Chios. Following an attack against the residents of Souda with Molotov cocktails and heavy stones on Thursday night and other violent incidents earlier this week, several tents burned and serious damages were caused to the shelter of many men, women and children escaping from war-torn countries.

In total, some 100 people lost their places to sleep, mainly families. They told the UNHCR team that they are scared to return and sleep in the site. "I strongly condemn any acts of violence, resulting both in the local population and the refugees being seriously hurt", said Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR's Representative in Greece. "All perpetrators of such acts should be found and brought to justice".

UNHCR calls on the authorities to prevent any future acts of violence by reinforcing security in and around the site. Efforts to find alternative accommodation to enable the closure of Souda should also be increased. Currently, UNHCR is already providing places to sleep in hotels and apartments for over 300 highly vulnerable men, women and children, whose asylum procedures are ongoing. UNHCR continues to assist the authorities to transfer asylum-seekers with asylum cards to the Greek mainland. Since the end of September, UNHCR helped identify, inform and transport almost 400 people from Chios to the mainland, in close collaboration with the authorities.

To protect the nearly 100 refugees and migrants who have lost their shelter in Souda in the last two days, UNHCR has started setting up UNHCR family tents with flooring. Through UNHCR partners, the victims of the attacks have also received medical and psychosocial support, as well as blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and hygiene kits.

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