The Latest: Greek lawmakers try to stem migrant overcrowding

In this Tuesday, May 2, 2018 photo a Syrian woman cooks food on an open fire at a makeshift camp outside Moria on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece. Asylum applications are backed up by nearly three years, according to Lesbos’ regional governor. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Lawmakers in Greece are preparing to vote on draft legislation to speed up the asylum process for migrants and refugees and amend restrictions on the Greek islands in an effort to ease overcrowding at camps there and deport more people back to Turkey

ISTANBUL — The Latest on migrant topics in Europe (all times local):

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2:50 p.m.

Lawmakers in Greece are preparing to vote on draft legislation to speed up the asylum process for migrants and refugees and amend restrictions on the Greek islands in an effort to ease overcrowding at camps there and deport more people back to Turkey.

Under the proposed changes, staff will be increased at the asylum service, the appeals process for rejected applications will be shortened, and travel restrictions can be imposed on asylum-seekers moved from the islands to the mainland.

A group of 13 Greek human rights organizations accused the government of ignoring refugee rights and is planning a protest outside parliament before the vote later Tuesday.

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1:20 p.m.

A senior European human rights official has urged Bosnia to improve its assistance to migrants, as the war-scarred country struggles to cope with a growing influx of people trying to reach Western Europe.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, in a letter to Bosnian officials published Tuesday expressed concern over "lack of systematic response" to the situation, with migrants sleeping outdoors in Bosnia's streets and parks.

Migrants have turned to Bosnia in recent months, trying to avoid more heavily guarded routes and borders in the Balkans. From Bosnia, migrants seek to enter EU-member Croatia in the northwest, and move on toward Western Europe.

Bosnia's Council of Ministers, the country's government, is set Tuesday to adopt measures on providing housing, food and medical care for the migrants.

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12:25 p.m.

Turkey's coast guard says seven Afghan nationals died, including three children, while trying to cross into Greece, but that it managed to rescue 13 people from the sinking boat.

In a statement Tuesday, it said a rescue ship and helicopter were dispatched late Monday near the western province of Canakkale following a tip. A half-sunk 6-meter fiber boat was found.

The coast guard said it rescued 12 Afghans and one alleged Iranian smuggler.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal migration.

Official figures show that in 2017 Turkey stopped some 45,000 Afghan nationals and a further 42,000 so far this year from reaching Greece.

Afghan migrants are second only to Syrians in attempted crossings from Turkey.

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