Greece passes asylum law to ease overcrowding in island camps

'Suspended' an installation by Arabella Dorman displayed in the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral is made up of hundreds of items of refugee clothing found largely on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos.

The Greek government passed a bill Tuesday aimed at making asylum procedures simpler and faster and to ease overcrowding on its island refugee camps.

Five camps on Greek islands close to the Turkish coast hold more than double their capacity and have been mired in violence over living conditions and delays in asylum claims that often take months to process.

On Monday, a dozen human rights groups criticised the bill, saying it would lead to slapdash procedures violating refugees’ rights.

The bill also allows for the imposition of a ban on asylum-seekers travelling beyond the islands until their claims are processed, which had been lifted by Greece’s top administrative court last month.

The 2016 European deal with Turkey has stemmed the flow of migration but effectively trapped thousands in Greece until their asylum applications are processed.

The ban on travelling to the mainland is part of the EU-Turley agreement, and one of the EU conditions imposed on Greece, for fear of them travelling to Germany or Holland,  in return for relocating refugees across the bloc.