Greece hardens its migration policy

Greece is hardening its approach to migrants, saying it has little choice given a lack of support from the rest of Europe.

The squalid conditions facing many asylum-seekers were laid bare last year when a fire devastated the sprawling Moria camp on Lesbos, and Greece has denied accusations that its coast guard has pushed back migrant boats as they entered Greek waters from Turkey.

Here's Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi.

"Our policy is strict but fair, and we need to make sure that the camps operate with rules and that protects first of all those living in the camps, for these people its a temporary house, it protects staff, it protects local communities."

Outside Athens in the camp of Ritsona, signs of the stricter policy are already visible.

Fenced in by concrete walls, it resembles a small walled town.

Amir is a refugee from Afghanistan. At only 17 years old he has already learned Greek since arriving in Ritsona 18 months ago and wants to become a doctor.

He says the fences have sown division.

"It can separate us from the other communities, it can put us in lonely, so we feel like, ok we are a different group of people from the Greek community, from the Greek people."

Greece says its policies are working. In the months through May, there were more returns than arrivals and flows were down 68%, according to the migration ministry. The number of people in camps was also down 71% since last May.

But with growing instability in the region, the drivers of migration remain strong.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting