ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A group of 16 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and 34 adults left Greece Monday morning on a flight to the United Kingdom, where they will be reunited with family members who are already there.
The move is part of a program to relocate about 1,600 unaccompanied refugee children to European countries. So far, Luxembourg has taken 12 children and Germany nearly 50, while Finland is to take about 100 later this month. Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday that a further 22 people are to be relocated to Switzerland.
Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied children, are living in squalid conditions in overcrowded camps on several Greek islands after arriving from the nearby Turkish coast. Many more are housed in camps, apartments and other shelters across the mainland.
The flight heading to the UK will return to Greece with 130 Greeks who had been stranded in Britain due to the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Migration and Asylum Ministry said.
“It is proof and confirmation that modern challenges that go beyond the borders and capabilities of each country individually, are dealt with only with international cooperation and the joining of forces,” Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said.