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Migrants desperate as EU return deal gets underway

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 - 01:28

An EU deal to return migrants to Turkey has already sent back over 200 Pakistanis, prompting one Pakistani man at a Lesbos holding center to threaten suicide, with other migrants trying smuggling routes to reach Europe. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Desperation is kicking in... two days into an EU deal that sends migrants in Greece illegally BACK to Turkey, where they transited from 'I'm not an animal,' this Pakistani shouts, 'I am human'. More than 200 migrants, most of them Pakistanis, have already been sent back since Monday, and the man is worried he could be NEXT. He's one of thousands at a holding center on the island of Lesbos, and threatens to hang himself if migrant demands NOT to be sent back aren't met. Tensions have been high all week at the holding center, where the European Asylum Office is trying to find some 800 experts and translators to process the 2,800 asylum applications it expects out of just this one facility. On Greece's border with Macedonia, the story is DIFFERENT for the stranded migrants at the makeshift camp in Idomeni. THEY'RE not part of the EU deal. Instead, the government is telling them they CAN apply for a European relocation program, but ONLY if they move to an official reception center for processing. Few take the offer, says this Iraqi man. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI MIGRANT, SAMIR, SAYING: ''Right now, a lot of families are forced to consider smuggling routes. Most of the families are considering this option. There are families that we know that have disappeared. We do not know anything about them". Human rights groups challenge the legality of the EU deal. They say it tramples over the rights of people displaced by war and question whether Turkey even has the means to handle the REVERSE influx of refugees.

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Migrants desperate as EU return deal gets underway

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 - 01:28