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19th April 2020

Chios, Greece


To Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs,




On 18th April 2020, another needless tragedy unfolded on the Aegean islands. 


Late a night, a fire swept through parts of Vial Reception and Identification Centre in Chios. The fire badly damaged parts of the asylum offices, police cars, security kiosks and three large Rub halls, housing many asylum seekers. 


Violence and reports of fighting with stones led police to use tear gas and flash grenades to bring the escalating situation under control. Families were driven out of the camp by the violence and spent the night seeking safety amongst the fields.


This latest tragedy is just another episode in the unfolding nightmare facing asylum seekers in Europe’s hotspot camps in Greece. Who do they have to turn to at this moment?


When will Europe act to decongest the Aegean hotspots?

Incidents of violence have increased dramatically over the past months. This is a direct consequence of overcrowding in camps that are on average 575% overcapacity. This is a consequence of Europe’s border policy!


Over the past months, fires have broken out with increasing frequency. These fires are yet another example of how urgently the EU must develop a humane policy on migration.


29th February, Fire in Vial Camp, Chios

3rd March, Fire at Chios solidarity warehouse, Lesvos

7th March, Fire at One Happy Family centre, Lesvos

16th March, Fire in Moria camp, Lesvos

28th March, Fire in Moria burned down tents, Lesvos

10th April, Fire in Moria burned down tents, Lesvos

16th April, Fire in Moria camp, Lesvos

19th April, Fire in Vial Camp, Chios


It is not COVID-19, but the ongoing and gross negligence on the part of the EU Commissioner and Member States that has led to this situation. It is therefore the responsibility of the EU Commissioner and Member States to find an immediate humane solution to this crisis that poses the most imminent threat to human lives.


Once again, we call on you to work with the Greek authorities and Member States to relocate asylum seekers on the islands across Europe. This must happen right now. There can be no compromises on human rights. 


We demand a statement from the EU Commission on this horrendous situation. Remaining quiet is not an option.



Europe Must Act

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