The UN refugee agency on Tuesday harshly criticized an EU-Turkey deal on curbing the influx of migrants to Greece, saying reception centers had become "detention facilities," and suspended some activities in the country.
"Under the new provisions, these sites have now become detention facilities," the UNHCR said in a statement.
"Accordingly, and in line with our policy on opposing mandatory detention, we have suspended some of our activities at all closed centers on the islands," it added.
The EU and Ankara struck a deal on Friday aiming to cut off the sea crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands that enabled 850,000 people to pour into Europe last year, many of them fleeing the brutal war in Syria.
The agreement, under which all migrants landing on the Greek islands face being sent back to Turkey, went into effect early on Sunday.
"UNHCR is not a party to the EU-Turkey deal, nor will we be involved in returns or detention," the agency said Tuesday, adding though that it would "continue to assist the Greek authorities to develop an adequate reception capacity."
The UN agency further noted that 934 refugees and migrants had landed on Lesbos alone since the accord took effect.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team