2016-03-21 09:00:00

Turkey, EU migrant deal goes into effect, first deportations from Greece

(Vatican Radio)  During his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis remembered the world’s many marginalized people, displaced persons, and refugees, lamenting the fact that no one wants to take responsibility for their fate.

His remarks came on the same day a deal between the EU and Turkey to tackle the migrant crisis formally came into effect. Many migrants stranded in Greece are facing deportation back to Turkey under the deal.

Listen to John Carr's report:

Greece began the laborious process of removing several thousand Middle Eastern refugees and migrants from the East Aegean islands today and shipping them to the mainland, to a still-uncertain future.

The move comes in the wake of Friday’s agreement between the European Union and Turkey, designed to stanch the unceasing flow of migrants from Turkey. 

But with the migrants huddled together in Greek camps now numbering close to 50,000, nothing has been said about where they are going to go.

There is growing unrest in the squalid tent city at Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border, as the approximately 12,000 migrants there realize that the border is going to remain sealed. 

Disused warehouses and terminals in the port of Piraeus are also crammed with Syrians and Afghans whose hopes for a quick move north are rapidly dwindling.  The Greek government is unable to say what will happen next.

And tragedies still happen.

Two young Afghan girls drowned yesterday during a perilous boat trip to the tiny Greek island of Rho, underscoring just how hard it’s going to be to reverse or even halt the flow.

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