Even bathing during daytime can be risky.
Asylum seekers are reporting sexual harassment and violence at some sub-standard reception centres on Greek islands where even bathing during the daytime can be risky despite Government measures to address the dire living conditions, the United Nations refugee agency warned on Friday.
In 2017, UNHCR received reports from 622 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on the Greek Aegean islands, out of which at least 28 percent experienced SGBV after arriving in Greece.
Pouilly said there is a reluctance to report such violence out of fear, shame and concerns about discrimination, retaliation and stigma.
Asylum seekers in Greece suffer widespread sexual violence and harassment in the country's substandard, overcrowded reception centers, the United Nations said on Friday.
A UNHCR statement said the situation is particularly worrying in the crowded refugee camps of Moria on Lesvos and Vathy on Samos, where toilets and washing facilities are "no-go zones" after dark for unaccompanied women and children.
These centers are now holding around 5,500 people-double their capacity, she added.
"The actual number of incidents is therefore likely to be much higher than reported", she told reporters in Geneva, acknowledging that the United Nations has only a "very partial picture of what the reality is". In Moria, one woman told our teams that she had not taken a shower in two months from fear, she said.
"Thanks to recent accelerated transfers to the mainland by the authorities, overcrowding has slightly reduced over the past weeks", she noted.
In Moira, 30 government medical staff, psychologists and social workers are squeezed together in three rooms where they conduct examinations and assessments with little to no privacy, she said.
Insecurity is another problem.
Conditions are also building frustration among people, leading to a hard and tense security environment, further raising the risk of SGBV.
Ms. Pouilly listed the steps, which involved gender separation including separate shelters and secure and well-lit wash areas; improved conditions and services; greater police presence with additional policewomen; more lighting in public areas; increased mainland transfers to ease overcrowding; additional staff dedicated to deal with the issue; and enhanced awareness-raising activities.
Risk and exposure to SGBV exacerbates the experiences that people have faced risking all, fleeing war-torn countries and human rights violations, and crossing sometimes risky territory to reach a safe haven.
Pouilly added that the UNHCR will continue to work with and support the Greek government to strengthen its operational response and build capacity as well as to prevent SGBV.