UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked the international community to do more to resettle migrants.
Speaking at the Kara Tepe migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, the UN Chief said: “Detention is not the answer, it should end immediately. Let us work together to resettle more people, provide legal pathways and better integrate refugees.”
Refugees he said “have been through the worst” a reminder of the many people who have escaped wars and oppressive regimes in their home countries to seek better lives elsewhere.
Ban Ki-moon commended the islanders of Lesbos who he said are “showing the world the best” through their support for the migrants.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) June 18, 2016
An estimated one million migrants, often in small and overcrowded rubber boats, crossed the Aegean sea last year from Turkey to the Greek island landing mostly on its northern beaches.
The wave of migrants from Turkey to Greece has however slowed since March when the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement for Turkey to seal the route.
Several hundreds of them however died during the crossing.
With migrant deaths in the Mediterranean sea having risen sharply this year, Ban Ki-moon noted that “the challenge is growing, every day around the world, thousands of families continue to flee their homes” he said adding that “every month, 450 lose their lives in the Mediterranean sea.”
Greek officials say nearly all the estimated 8400 migrants currently on the island have expressed interest in applying for asylum.
There is also an estimated 48,000 migrants on the Greek mainland many of whose hopes of continuing to other European countries have been dashed following a wave of border closures across the Balkans.