I ett uppmärksammat videoreportage berättar Parul Sharma om hur avlidna flyktingar på den grekiska ön Lesbos begravs i anonyma gravar utan att de anhöriga underrättats. Nu svarar UNHCR på kritiken.
I sitt svar skriver Astrid Castelein, chef för UNHCR:s arbete på den grekiska ön Lesbos, att det finns tydliga riktlinjer när någon avlider vilka stöds av UNHCR.
Global Bar Magazine har även ställt frågan till UNHCR om de känner till och kan bekräfta de uppgifter som framkommit i reportaget. FN:s flyktingorganisation har dock inte svarat på dessa frågor.
Så här skriver UNHCR:
A few clarifications regarding UNHCR’s role and intervention in case of decease and burial of a person of concern to UNHCR in Lesvos: UNHCR is supporting the burial through community mobilization and communication, transportation of family members and/or community members to the cemetery and humanitarian assistance.
Regarding the procedure in place for the communication to family members of deceased persons of concerns to UNHCR in Lesvos there are different standards procedures in place depending on the circumstances:
- If a family member or relative is present in the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC), Reception and Identification Services (RIS) communicates and agrees with the closest family members for the arrangements regarding the burial. The burial formalities fall under the responsibility of the Municipality of Mytilene. The choice of the cemetery depends on the religion of the deceased person.
- If no family member or relative is present in the RIC, RIS communicates with representatives of the community who will try to get in contact with family members and/or relatives in the country of origin to inquire about the will of the family members regarding the burial (i.e. repatriation of the body, burial in Lesvos). Community networks exist on Lesvos but also in the mainland such as in Athens and Thessaloniki. In case the choice is to burry the person in Lesvos, the Municipality of Mytilene is responsible for the burial formalities in coordination with RIS.
- If no family member or relative is present in the RIS and the community cannot get in touch with the family members/relatives in the country of origin, the burial falls under the responsibility of the Municipality of Mytilene in coordination with RIS.
- In case of decease following a shipwreck, in line with the agreed standard operation procedures, family tracing will be undertaken by ICRC. In case no family member can be traced, the burial of the body falls under the responsibility of the Municipality of Mytilene.
Regarding the burial formalities, you may wish to contact the Municipality of Mytilene directly.
Head of Sub-Office
UNHCR Sub-Office Lesvos
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