A continuing humanitarian crisis
For the past 5 years, the Greek government and the EU have built and sustained camps in the Aegean as a way to manage migration at Europe’s border with Turkey.
This approach has caused a drawn-out humanitarian crisis as thousands of asylum seekers are forced to live in undignified and overcrowded conditions becoming victims of a cruel and unspoken policy of deterrence, detention and deportation.
No More Camps
Now, after 5 years of immense human suffering, Greece and the EU have planning the construction of permanent closed camps on the Aegean islands. On Samos, such a camp has now been built. In these camps, asylum seekers are detained in prison-like conditions. They compound human rights abuses while still leaving Europe with an ineffective approach to managing migration.
How do we know this? We, aid-workers and volunteers, are on the ground, witnesses to the cruelty and injustice that refugees and asylum seekers face. From experience, we know that trapping people in camps is not the solution. So we say: No more camps!
Alternatives that allow asylum seekers to be received in a fair and compassionate way exist. From dignified accommodation on the islands and relocation across EU Member States. Together we must make sure they are explored and implemented.
Over the coming months, we have a greater challenge in front of us than ever before. The new camps on the Aegean are regarded by the EU as a pilot project that, if “successful”, will be emulated elsewhere along Europe's borders. We must stop these new camps from existing before it is too late and push for viable and humane alternatives to detention.
Photo credit: Lesvos Solidarity