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Czech Republic to receive 10 refugees from camps in Greece and as many as 80 Syrians from camps in Turkey

28.7.2016 21:57
Refugees on the Greek island of Kos, 2015. (PHOTO:  Jana Baudyšová, Romea.cz)
Refugees on the Greek island of Kos, 2015. (PHOTO: Jana Baudyšová, Romea.cz)

The Czech Republic will be receiving 10 refugees from camps in Greece on the basis of the redistribution quotas approved by the European Union last year. Three of the families from there have already undergone a security clearance.

The date of their arrival has not yet been established. Once they arrive, the Czech authorities will begin their proceedings for international protection.

That information comes from an updated report by the Czech Interior Ministry to yesterday's cabinet session which the Czech News Agency has seen. The security services are also vetting 81 Syrian refugees who are in camps in Turkey.

Whether those refugees will be relocated will be decided on the basis of the security clearances. By the end of 2017, the Czech Republic should receive a total of 2 691 people from the Mediterranean countries most affected by the migration crisis.

The country first voluntarily joined the relocation program within the framework of the redistribution quotas pledging to receive 1 100 refugees from camps in Greece and Italy. Laster, during negotiations inside the EU, that number was expanded by another 1 591 refugees even though the Czech Republic and several other countries voted against expanding the original quotas.

This February the Czech Republic offered resettlement to 20 people living in camps in Greece and to 10 people living in camps in Italy. After security investigations of them, at the end of April only four Syrian refugees living in Greek camps were allowed to enter the Czech Republic.

Originally seven of the 20 were to have come to the Czech Republic, but three left the facility where they were waiting for relocation. The remaining 13 were rejected on the basis of their security checks.

Those who were rejected did not, for example, have enough forms of identification to prove who they are. The most recent report from the Interior Ministry says the Czech Republic has offered both Greece and Italy another 10 free spaces for persons now in camps to relocate.

"For the time being we have received a proposal of specific individuals to resettle only from Greece. On the basis of the reuslts of the security clearances, the Czech Republic has agreed to receive those 10 persons," reads the Interior Ministry report.

Italy has yet to propose more refugees for resettlement, according to the Interior Ministry. The report also points out that resettling refugees from both countries is very slow and is basically stuck in all directions, i.e., both into the EU and in the direction of returning refugees to Turkey.

According to the document, EU Member States have offered places for 7 500 refugees total, only 2 200 of whom have been resettled. Today the Czech daily Lidové noviny pointed out that the Czech Republic should also receive refugees from camps in Turkey on the basis of the agreement between Ankara and the EU on restricting migration.

In mid-July, Czech authorities received the files of 81 persons now in camps in Turkey after offering 88 places for resettlement. "The files were sent for security clearances. On the basis of those checks, the Interior Ministry will prepare a resettlement misison," the report states.

Those refugees could arrive in the Czech Republic during the next four months. They would count toward meeting the quota of 400 refugees whom the Czech Republic pledged to receive voluntarily from camps in the Middle East; 52 have been resettled from that part of the world to the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic to accept 80 Syrians from Turkish refugee camps

The Czech Repulbic, as part of the agreement between the EU and Turkey on exchanging refugees, will accept 80 Syrian migrants now in Turkish refugee camps. Hana Malá, spokesperson for the Czech Interior Ministry, has confirmed that to the Czech daily Lidové noviny.

The precise date of their resettlement is unknown, but according to the Government report on migration, the Syrians should make it to the Czech Republic by the end of October. Two weeks ago the Czech Republic received the files of the migrants who are interested in resettling from the UN High Commissioner on Refugees.

Secret services are now investigating the applicants. "We are proceeding thoroughly, primarily in connection with the thorough security vetting of all persons whose resettlement is being considered," Malá said.

The Syrians will undergo a crash course about the Czech Republic prior to leaving Turkey and will first live in an asylum-seekers' camp after arriving. Caritas Czech Republic is the NGO partner contracted by the ministry with arranging the foreign nationals' integration, and for the time being has no information about the number of migrants or when they will arrive.

"We proceed the same way with everybody. If they show interest in the state's integration program then we find housing for them according to an individual plan and we aid them with language courses and finding work. We collaborate with municipalities and nonprofit organizations on that," Jakub Líčka, General Secretary of Caritas Czech Republic, told the daily.

The March agreement between the EU and Turkey means that for each refugee returned back to Turkey from the Greek islands, an EU Member State will receive a migrant from the camps in Turkey. A total of 802 refugees have been relocated this way to date. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Greece, Immigration, refugee, Turkey



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