Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, is travelling to Greece today (10 June), where she will visit Samos island, hold talks with aid organisations, and meet Andreas Pottakis, the Greek Ombudsman, and Dimitrios Vitsas, Greek Minister for Migration Policy.
Kofler issued the following statement prior to her departure:
The refugee and migration situation in Greece and the entire region remains a great challenge for all Europeans.
We are continuing to see alarming images from the Greek islands. There were recently sad clashes in Moria. I have decided to travel to Greece, where I will visit Vathy Hotspot on Samos in order to see the situation for myself as Human Rights Commissioner and speak to people on the ground.
Each of these women, men and children have their own story and many have experienced great suffering. I would like to give a face to these individuals – something that happens far too rarely, including in public discourse in Germany.
In Samos and Athens, my programme will include talks with volunteers. Their commitment shows great humanity and solidarity, which I very much admire. We know that the situation is not easy and I have great respect for the people of Greece.
The German Government has conducted a bilateral dialogue on migration with Greece since 2017 and is willing to work more closely with the country on migration issues.
In view of the great challenges, it is more important than ever to stand together in the European Union and act in line with the principles of responsibility and solidarity.