U.S. charity Mercy Corps is under investigation by the Greek government on allegations that members of the group sexually abused migrants in Greek asylum centres.
Two members of the pro-migrant charity are under investigation by Greek authorities who say they sexually abused asylum seekers, though have not gone into the details of the abuse. The charity is also one of many NGOs that receives funding from the European Union, Austrian newspaper Kurier reports.
The two members in question have been relieved of their duties whilst the investigation is taking place. Mercy Corps also added they had conducted their own internal investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse.
According to their website, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations is one of the NGO’s “foundation and corporate partners”.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Christos Stylianides had already informed members of the political bloc about the allegations but refused to name the organisation involved. Stylianides also said the organisation was being investigated for the misuse of EU funds, as well; further funding has been suspended.
Greek Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas handed the case files against the NGO to Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Monday.
Both the EU and various countries within the political bloc are becoming more and more sceptical of the role of NGOs in the migrant crisis. NGOs who pick up migrants in the Mediterranean have come under scrutiny as many have accused them of working with people smugglers and being a “taxi service” for migrants.
One of the most vocal critics of the NGOs has been Italian prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro who has claimed he has evidence that members of the charity groups directly communicate with people smugglers in Libya.
The allegations have led Trapani Prosecutor Ambrogio Cartosio to also investigate members of some NGOs for possible links to people smugglers, though Cartosio stressed that the investigations targetted members and not the organisations themselves.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian populist anti-mass migration Lega Nord party, commented on the NGOs’ activities earlier this week saying: “You can’t any longer speak about immigration but about an invasion organised, funded and planned by Brussels with the complicity of Rome.”
Some members of the public have attempted to take action against NGO ships including the hipster-right Identitarian youth movement who tried to block a migrant rescue ship from leaving port last month in Sicily.
The group has called on other members of the public across Europe to fund an operation to track and disrupt the activities of the NGOs and has raised over 64,000 euros.