U.N. Envoy Blasts EU’s ‘Lack of Vision’ on Migration

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -
Refugee children walk along railway tracks in a makeshift camp at Idomeni border station on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia, photographed from the Macedonian side of the border line, Monday, April 4, 2016. The European plan to send migrants from Greece back to Turkey is set to be implemented starting today. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Refugee children walk along railway tracks in a makeshift camp at Idomeni border station on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

A United Nations envoy for human rights has criticized the European Union’s response to the refugee crisis as showing a “lack of vision,” operating under legal ambiguity, and backing the detention of newly arrived migrants in Greece.

The envoy, Francois Crepeau, said the March agreement between the EU and Turkey to turn back migrants who reach Europe required “much stronger legal instruments to ensure legal accountability.”

For its part, Greece has been detaining migrants and refugees who arrived after March 20. Some 50,000 people have become stranded in the country since European countries, including Austria and Balkan states, closed their borders to migrants earlier this year.

Crepeau expressed concern that children were among those detained, and urged an immediate change in policy.

He spoke in Athens Monday after visiting detention sites and migrant camps.