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July 29, 2020, 11.32 PM

ATHENS, KOMPAS.com – The EU began relocating 100 asylum seekers including minors from Greece and Cyprus to Germany and Finland.

The update was shared by the European Union’s Asylum Coordination Agency on Wednesday.

The relocation of asylum seekers is part of an ongoing EU scheme to move 1,600 minors to various European countries.

The first relocation happened on July 24 moving 83 people from families with severely-ill children from Greece to Germany, according to the European Asylum Support Office.

In a separate move not part of the EU initiative, 16 Somalis and Congolese from single-parent families were relocated from Cyprus to Finland on July 27.

All were tested for Covid-19 before leaving Cyprus and Greece, EASO said.

The program is supported by the European Commission, the UN refugee agency, and the International Organization for Migration.

Greece has some 5,000 migrant minors, most of them living in unsanitary conditions in refugee camps, or in housing not suitable for them.

Greek islands lying close to Turkey have in particular been swamped by asylum seekers, and squalid camps have sprung up, fuelling tension with local populations.

Greek authorities have kept island camps under coronavirus lockdown since March, prompting criticism from rights groups.

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers have been blocked in Greece since 2016 when many European states shut their borders in response to a surge in migration and refugees, mainly from war-torn Syria.

Around a dozen European countries have agreed to make an exception for minors.

A small number have already relocated to Portugal, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Serbia, and Switzerland have agreed to welcome some as well.

(Writer & Editor: Agence France-Presse) 

Source: http://u.afp.com/38Nt 

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