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Gov't on asylum granting procedure; fence in Evros

Δημοσίευση 6 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 10:48 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Gov't on asylum granting procedure;  fence in Evros
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A draft law aimed to revise the asylum-granting procedure will be submitted to Parliament on Jan. 11, Citizens' Protection Deputy Minister Manolis Othonas said on Wednesday. Moreover, he described the draft law as a medium-term tool to combat the illegal migration problem.

A draft law aimed to revise the asylum-granting procedure will be submitted to Parliament on Jan. 11, Citizens' Protection Deputy Minister Manolis Othonas said on Wednesday. Moreover, he described the draft law as a medium-term tool to combat the illegal migration problem.

Speaking to an Athens radio station on Wednesday, the deputy minister responded to criticism over the government's intent to build a fence along a stretch of Greece’s land border with Turkey in Evros prefecture, stressing that “cool-headedness and determination are necessary”.

“Exercising our sovereign rights without violating international treaties or human rights while respecting the dignity of the people regardless of race, colour or origin is a non-negotiable stance for the government,” he stressed, adding:

"We have never said that the decision to build the fence in Evros will be a panacea that will magically solve all problems and eradicate the migration inflow problem. On the contrary, an injustice is being done to the effort we are doing when, unfortunately, discussion focuses on the fence issue.”

On the asylum-granting procedure, he stated that “a self-sufficient agency is being set up with regional offices” and that its staff of “interpreters, political scientists and sociologists, will be able to determine the origin of the asylum seekers and the truth of their claims”.

The deputy minister pointed out that only those migrants with legitimate conditions will be allowed to stay in Greece and the remaining will be deported.

Speaking on the same issue later in the day during a meeting on the state of Athens' historical centre, Minister Christos Papoutsis reiterated that protection of the country's border is an issue of "national sovereignty".

He also cited the need for a rapid review of 45,000 political asylum requests tabled with his ministry, so that "those that do not meet conditions will be repatriated as soon as possible".