On World Refugee Day 2020, Europe Must Act is coordinating actions across Europe to demand the opening of the camps on the Aegean islands. Various activities are taking place (human chains, video projections, wearing masks with #RaisingVoices, etc.), including online (#OpenTheCamps advocacy, webinars, etc.). On Saturday, over 50 European cities will show solidarity and raise awareness of the appalling conditions in hotspots camps. Refugees and asylum seekers are still locked down whilst tourists are travelling to Greece.
Restrictive measures in the hotspots limit asylum seekers and refugees’ possibility to access hospitals, legal advice and meet their basic needs. They have worsened and added stress to an already inhumane situation, in stark contrast with the living conditions of the local population and tourists.
“We are aware of Coronavirus. But we are already infected with the virus of non-liberty and the daily threat to our health.” Karisma Okilanda, refugee living in Samos, Greece.
“It is very frustrating that the lockdown on Vial is continuously extended as most of Chios seems to have returned to normality. It feels as though Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to cover up the racial prejudice that is present here on the island.” Melanie Liu, Europe Must Act spokesperson working on the ground in Chios, Greece.
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.
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