The drawn-out humanitarian crisis of the past 5 years has made clear that camps are not a solution.
Yet, instead of abandoning camps and embracing alternatives, the EU and Greek government are determined to build new closed camps, Multi-Purpose Reception and Identification Centres, on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos. These MPRICs are being presented as THE solution for the protracted humanitarian crisis in the Aegean. Both Greek and EU policy-makers promise dignified accommodation to asylum seekers and a return to ‘normal’ for local islanders.
The reality is that local islands do not want these MPRICs to be built in their communities. With a perimeter of two NATO military style fences, camera surveillance using motion analysis algorithms to monitor the movements of asylum seekers inside the centre and 4 square meters of living space per individual, life for asylum seekers inside the closed camps will be prison-like. They will still struggle to access essential services, they will still be stuck in overcrowded camps for long and indefinite periods of time awaiting a decision on their asylum claim.
MPRICs are a continuation of the old hotspot camps, they are more of the same but worse, they are not a viable solution.
Want to learn more about the closed camps currently being built on the Greek islands? Read our report.
But a different way is possible, European society has the resources, will and expertise to host asylum seekers in a safe and dignified way. Alternatives to camps exist.