A top United Nations official urged Greece on Monday to stop detaining refugee and migrant children, some of whom are locked up in police cells for weeks, and to develop child protection services instead.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau, said he had met unaccompanied children held in police stations for more than two weeks without access to the outdoors, and “traumatised and distressed” by the experience.
Others were with their families in overcrowded detention centres, where inter-communal frictions and contradictory information created “an unacceptable level of confusion, frustration, violence and fear”, he said.
“Children should not be detained – period,” said Crepeau, on a fact-finding mission in Greece from May 12 to 16.
“Detention should only be ordered when people present a risk, a danger, a threat to the public and it has to be a documented threat, it cannot simply be a hunch.”
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