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Greek parliament set to vote on asylum bill as unrest in refugee camps grows

Greek ministers will vote on moving forward with a plan to return thousands of asylum-seekers to Turkey. The move comes as chaos threatens to erupt in the country's refugee camps.

The Greek parliament is set to vote on new legislation that will prepare the country to move forward with returning thousands of asylum-seekers to Turkey as part of a deal reached by Ankara and Brussels.

The EU-Turkey agreement sees to it that migrants who arrived on the Greek islands on March 20 or later will be sent back to Turkey if they don't apply or don't qualify for asylum.

Amnesty International criticized the deal, saying Turkey was engaging in forced returns of thousands of refugees to Syria.

"In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have willfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day," the organization said.

Chaos on Chios

New arrivals being reigstered by police on Chios

New arrivals being reigstered by police on Chios

UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, also issued a warning directed at the EU, describing the living conditions at some of the refugee camps in Greece as "dismal."

On Friday, three men were hospitalized after getting in a fight at the Chios hot spot, only three days after a similar occurrence at a different camp in Greece left eight refugees hospitalized.

Greek police reportedly used stun grenades to put an end to the fight, which happened after migrants demanded they leave the camp, according to activists.

More than 51,000 refugees trying to reach other parts of Europe are stranded in Greece, and hundreds more continue to arrive every day.

blc/kms (AFP, dpa)

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