Refugee Women In Greece Confined To Spaces With Men They Don't Know

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Women who have sought refugee status in northern Greece have been forced into confined living conditions with men whom they don't know.

Women and children seeking asylum in Greece have been detained and housed with men, with whom they share no relationship, in a move that Human Rights Watch is condemning.

The situation puts women “at grave risk of sexual violence and harassment,” the organization wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “Authorities should immediately stop holding asylum-seeking women and girls in closed facilities with unrelated men.”

The organization noted that many women in the Evros region in northern Greece had been detained and placed in terrifying conditions. Twelve women and two girls, for instance, had been locked up in enclosures for several weeks at a time with men they didn’t know. One of those 14 individuals had been locked with unrelated men for five months.

“Women and girls should not be confined with men who are complete strangers, even for a day,” said HRW researcher Hillary Margolis.

Indeed, there’s reason to be concerned. The organization’s research also found that women confined in these conditions suffered psychological anguish, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.

Assaults were also reported. An anonymous woman going by the name “Suraya” explained to HRW that a man in her confined room assaulted her while she was sleeping. When she told authorities, her complaints resulted in no action.

“I have asked [them] to take me to a safer place here, or to another camp, but nothing has happened,” Suraya explained.

Conditions for refugees coming to Greece have been problematic for some time now, resulting in desperation for a population of people who simply want to find a better life. These women represent a small number among the thousands of others who have been mistreated by the Greek government.

It’s time for Greece to change its ways, and to treat asylum seekers as human beings.

Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

 

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