Migrants stitch mouths in protest at Greek border

Athens, Nov 25 (IANS/AKI) Around 200 people from Iran, Bangladesh and Pakistan held protest at the Greek border after new profiling procedures left around 1,000 refugees stranded there, the UN has said.

Eleven people have reportedly sewn up their mouths and 60 are on hunger strike amid mounting desperation among those stuck at the Greek border, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday.

Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis were allowed to cross while other nationalities were stopped at Greece’s border with Serbia due to the profiling and other restrictions, according to UNHCR.

“A new humanitarian situation has developed in Europe that needs urgent attention,” said UNHCR, warning that refugees and migrants would continue arriving in Europe via Greece.

The chaos could drive even more people into the clutches of people smugglers, the UNHCR said.

At least one million people will seek refuge in Europe this year, fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to the Paris-based OECD think-tank.

The European Union has predicted that three million more migrants could cross the borders into member nations by the end of next year.

More than 750,000 asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Africa and Asia have entered Europe this year, most of them via Greece amid the world’s biggest-ever migration crisis.

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