Grassroots NGOs demand equal lockdown measures for refugees on the Aegean Islands
Updated: Jun 23
Europe Must Act and 40 NGOs will publish a joint letter to Greek Ministers of Migration & Asylum and Civil Protection on Tuesday to seek clarification on the announced extension of restrictive measures.
On Saturday, Europe Must Act organised actions online and offline in 19 local chapters all over Europe. 52 member NGOs of Europe Must Act supported the demand to open refugee camps on the Aegean Islands. Four more actions took place in cooperation with partner movements such as Europeans for Humanity, Humans Before Borders and Seebrücke. MEP Erik Marquardt, German actress Katja Riemann and Joke Shaapman from Amnesty International Leeuwarden showed solidarity in webinars about ongoing restrictions. Greek authorities extended the restrictive measures for refugee camps for the 4th time until the 5th of July on Sunday. While Greece loosened restrictions for locals and tourists, refugees and asylum seekers are still held under inhumane conditions in overcrowded camps. The restrictive measures limit refugees and asylum seekers to access hospitals, legal advice and to meet their basic needs.
“I understand why they put us in lockdown when everyone was also quarantining since they wanted to protect us from getting sick. Now we don't understand why we have to stay in the camp and everyone else is free to be back to their normal lives.” Ibrahim Bakara, refugee living in Samos, Greece.
“After repeated extensions to the measures placed on asylum seekers living in Greece’s island camps, we are urgently demanding clarification from the Greek government.” says Jacob Warn from Action for Education, a Greek NGO working on Chios and Samos. “We are deeply worried by the psychosocial and medical impact these measures have on the refugee populations living in these overcrowded camps. We want to understand the rationale behind extending these measures for such a specific community.”
“The conditions in the refugee camps are a disgrace for the European Union. Human Beings, among them many children, are locked up in overcrowded camps and have no way of protecting themselves from the Corona Virus and other diseases. As the EU, we have a duty to uphold human dignity at our external borders. We cannot not allow such conditions just because we want to discourage refugees from coming to Europe." Erik Marquardt, MEP Greens/EFA
Europe Must Act is a growing movement of grassroots NGOs and civil society. We demand the immediate decongestion of the Aegean Islands through fair relocation across Member States, with dignified and legal conditions of reception. Accordingly, we advocate for a new and humane migration policy to fundamentally change the way Europe treats the asylum seekers arriving at its borders, land and sea.