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Posted on: March 26th, 2013 by Julie jalloul No Comments

Syrian refugees that drowned on their way to Greece to be buried in Komotini

Migrants from North Africa arrive in the southern Italian island of Lampedusa

photo: HRW

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The six Syrian refugees which drowned as they tried to reach the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey, last Thursday are to be buried in Muslim cemetery of Komotini on Tuesday.

The bodies of the six refugees will be washed and shrouded according to Isalmic law at 8:30 A.M. at the makeshift mosque Al-Salam in Athens and then will be buried in the Muslim cemetery of Komotini, according to a statement by the Syrian Revolution Coordination Committee in Greece.

“The bodies of the six Syrians that drowned on the island of Lesvos will reach 8.30 A.M. to the Salam Mosque in Athens where they will be washed and shrouded and then buried in Komotini according to Islamic law. They will be accompanied by a delegation of the Association of the Free Syrian expatriates.”

As regards the burial of Muslims in Greece, there are only two choices: either to 
ship the body to their homeland for burial or to Thrace in northern Greece, home to the Muslim minority of the country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last week expressed deep sorrow over the recent shipwreck off the coast of Lesvos in which six persons have lost their lives: one mother with two very young children, one 17-year-old pregnant girl, one minor boy and one man.

Search and Rescue operations for the location of 3 more missing persons continue.

According to statements made by relatives of the victims to the police authorities of the island, the Syrians had left the Turkish coasts on 6th March heading towards Lesvos.

There is information that among the victims there is a five-member family and a 14-year-old boy who used to live in Greece but were obliged to return to Syria due to the Greek economic situation and subsequently forced to flee again because of the conflict.

The development comes only three months after 21 Afghan refugees lost their lives in the Aegean Sea. Since August 2012, when the crossing of the Evros has been made more difficult, refugees and migrants are increasingly turning to the Aegean and taking greater risks in the attempt to reach Europe.

Among the persons attempting the crossing there are an increasing number of Syrian refugees fleeing from the conflict. UNHCR highlights once again that border control measures should be combined with safeguards for the protection of persons fleeing from war and persecutions in line with State’s international obligations.

The UNHCR office in Greece furthermore has stressed that Syrian refugees should not be detained on the grounds of lack of legal documents or be served with deportation or return orders. On the contrary the Greek State should take all necessary measures for their protection, including processing of their asylum claims through fair and efficient procedures.



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