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Al Jazeera | 02.01.2018

by Patrick Strickland

Athens, Greece – Closed borders, racism, xenophobic attacks, rejected asylum applications, poverty and lengthy waits.

These experiences are what many refugees and migrants in Greece say defined 2017 for them.

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants are trapped in Greece due to sealed borders across the so-called Balkan route and the March 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union, which was sculpted to stem the flow of displaced people to Europe.

That deal has been roundly condemned by rights groups and watchdogs.

More than 15,000 refugees and migrants have been confined to Greek islands by a government policy that bars them from moving to the mainland until their asylum procedures have been completed.

Although arrivals sharply decreased after the EU-Turkey deal, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) statistics say that more than 170,317 people made the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in 2017.

At least 3,081 died or went missing along the way.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, some refugees in Greece explained that they no longer feel welcome, while others said they have started to build their lives from scratch. […]

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