Greece opened a new holding camp for migrants on Saturday on the island of Samos, close to Turkey, and said other new facilities would follow in coming months as it tightens migration policy, AAP reports quootoing Reuters.
The minister opening the camp said it would offer "lost dignity" to those seeking protection. Aid groups said the new facility, which will house asylum seekers and people to be deported, looked more like a jail with its fence topped by barbed wire.
The Mediterranean country was at the frontline of Europe's migration crisis in 2015 and 2016 when a million refugees fleeing war and poverty from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived, mainly via Turkey.
The number of arrivals has fallen since then, but with thousands of asylum-seekers still stranded in Greece, the conservative government that took power in 2019 has toughened its stance on migration.
It has built a 40 km (25 miles) fence in the Evros region on the Turkish border and launched a European Union-wide tender this summer to build two facilities on Samos and the Lesbos islands to replace previously overcrowded camps.
"We have created a modern and safe new closed, controlled access centre ... that will give back the lost dignity to people seeking international protection," Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said inaugurating the new camp.