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Greece: Government bans 22 pro-migrant NGOs for failing to comply with new law

The Greek government has ordered 22 pro-migrant Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to halt their activities after they failed to properly register before the June 14 deadline. Registration was mandated by a new law that was passed in response to increasing violence perpetrated by illegal migrants.

There are currently 40 pro-migrant NGOs active in the camps throughout Greece, which has been on the front lines of the ongoing migrant crisis that began in 2015. Illegal migrants cross into Greece over land from Turkey or by sea across the Aegean. Greece is currently hosting upwards of 50,000 migrants, both on its islands in the Aegean and on its mainland.

Greece recently passed a law requiring migrant NGOs to register with the government by June 14 after widespread violence and criminality perpetrated by migrants became a major problem in the country. Particularly upsetting to Greeks was a riot that took place at the Thessaloniki migrant camp near the Turkish border last month, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.

The Greek government blamed the migrant NGOs for the unrest, and the measure was said to be an attempt to monitor their activities more closely.

“There is a network of unreliable NGOs operating, in addition to a network of doctors, lawyers, and other people who are making money off of the misery of these people,” said George Koumoutsakos, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Migration, according to a report by SCEPTR. “They are leeches, and this must stop. All this contributes to illegal migration.”

287 NGOs requested to register before the deadline. Only 70 of them were allowed to do so, however. As part of its new oversight, the Greek government will examine how each organisation is funded and also review the criminal history of their staff.

Of the 40 NGOs that are currently working in Greece’s migrant camps, 22 of them only registered incompletely, and their applications were rejected. Only 18 NGOs were accepted.

Unsurprisingly, representatives of the NGOs consider the new regulations to be unfair, claiming they are “too difficult to implement” and “stigmatize” their work.

 The Greek government has rejected the criticisms, however, claiming that the previous rules were too flexible, and were easy to abuse. “Many NGOs have made a decisive contribution to solving migration problems,” said Selios Peltas, a government spokesman. “But other NGOs have been working in an erroneous and parasitic manner.”

Voice Of Europe

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