Migrants, the inhuman conditions of the camps in Greece in full pandemic. “We were told: if the virus arrives here they will dig a hole to bury us”


Rawan came fromafghanistan in Greece alone, with two children minors. Victim of sexual violence, had to live under a tent for 6 months in an area of ​​the overcrowded camp of ‘Moria’, in Lesbos, where there are not even bathrooms. Here live 15 thousand desperate people exposed to the infection from COVID-19, in a space designed for 2,800 people, without water to wash your hands, nor the possibility of keeping your distance. In mid-June in Greece approximately 229 unaccompanied migrant minors were detained, while in all hotspot on the islands currently 38,000 migrants are in inhuman conditions and in the midst of a pandemic, in spaces built to house less than 6,200. The story of Rawan (invented name) is told in the report released by Oxfam is Greek Council for Refugees, which photographs the effects of reform Greek of the asylum system, approved on January 1, 2020, and partially modified in May. The two organizations denounce that because of detentions arbitrary and rejections by the authority, ‘Abuse and harassment of defenseless women are on the rise during the lockdown’ and appeals to European Union is Greece for the cancellation of the legislation in force.

SHAME IN THE HEART OF EUROPE – And it really is Rawan to describe living conditions a Moria. “The situation in the camp was already frightening – he says – but with the pandemic it got worse. We were told: if the virus get here they will dig a giant the pit in which to bury us “. And the risk is: “They gave us two masks and a piece of soap, but we don’t know what to do with it since there is no water. At the distribution of meals there were so many people that it was impossible to maintain distance“. That rapes have increased, as confirmed by the words of Barlinwho, to reach Greece from Somalia, faced a journey between life and death. It arrived on the island of Lesbos in 2019 and she was assigned a section dedicated to single women, inside the Moria camp. It is she who tells of a group of women who live in a olive grove, just off the pitch. In full pandemicat night they didn’t even have access to services Toilet and toilets and had to defend themselves, since there was no police and no protection whatsoever. “I remember one night when gods men they began to threaten them – he says – entered their tents and took their own mobile phones. Here many girls have to deal with fear is attacks panic Frequently. ” He also lives in the olive grove Jamal. Arrived 16 years afterafghanistan, was incorrectly registered as an adult and was placed in a tent shared with a dozen men adults he didn’t know. Several bureaucratic vicissitudes have not yet resolved his situation.

PRACTICE: PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN HELD IN THE FIELDS – In reality, men, women and children fleeing violence and persecution in the vast majority of cases, in countries like Syria is afghanistan, have little chance of accessing fair procedures for obtaining the protection international. All this, however, compared to just over 10 thousand arrivals in 2020 (in 2019 there were over 74 thousand). Upon their arrival in the hotspot of the islands, i migrants (many of which in particular condition vulnerability, like children, pregnant women, Disabled) are put in the state of detention without access to health carenor to any kind of protection. The system then makes it incredibly difficult to examine the causes that drive i applicants asylum to leave their countries of origin, often crossed by wars is persecution.

ONLY ONE LAWYER IN LESBO FOR ASYLUM REQUESTS – The reform effectively prevents many asylum seekers who have no legal support from appealing in the event of refoulement of your question. The appeal, in fact, can only be filed through a lawyer and a Lesbos there is only one. The story of Ali and his wife Karima (Syrian citizens) arrived in the camp of Moria in November 2019. The first registration interview took place in January 2020 and another was scheduled for May 10, 2021. The couple asked if, with the assistance of a lawyer, it would have been possible to anticipate the times, but the answer was negative. During their stay, among other things, Karima she fell from a dangerous bridge in the slums of Moria and the accident caused her to have a miscarriage. Now she is pregnant again, but has never been seen by a doctor.

THE FAULTS OF THE ASYLUM SYSTEM – “When the Greek authorities reject an asylum application, this does not mean that people do not need international protection – he explains Spyros-Vlad Oikonomou, policy advisor of GRC – but it is a consequence of procedure accelerated by asylum applied at the moment at the borders, with very short terms that only multiply the mistakes. All in a context that does not allow many to have neither the time nor the way to prepare for the interview rating, which will revive him horrors past and from which they are Escaped“. A system that results in the detention immediate of those who have seen the asylum application and subsequent rejection in Turkey or in the country of origin. A rule that applies, however, to those who have arrived since the beginning of 2020. Because waiting for those who arrived in 2019 (due to new arrivals, the old procedures have been postponed, ed) there are months, if not years, of waiting for the first interview. Months and years in which you get trapped in conditions inhumane in fields like Moria “with the good placet ofEuropean Union, exposed to harassment and abuse, especially if you are a single woman. ”

THE APPEAL – “This reform is a slap in the face of the humanitarian commitment of theEurope to protect those who flee from wars and persecutions – he comments Riccardo Sansone, head of the humanitarian office of Oxfam Italy, according to which “the European Union is complicit in this abuse because it has used the Greece as a testing ground for new ones policies migration. We are very concerned about the system asylum Greek may become inspiration for the future reform European“. In the face of this situation, organizations ask “al government Greek and to European Commission to immediately review the current legislation, so that it is not harmful to human rights, nor does it conflict with the right Community“. But a situation that cannot be resolved, they warn Oxfam is GRC, without sharing responsibility at European level. “The politics of outsourcing of the control of the Community borders – he concludes Samson – made in this case with the Turkey and, similarly with the Libya to repel flows along the route of the Mediterranean central, has proven unsuccessful and has put thousands of lives at risk, as well as exposing them to unspeakable horrors “.

(photo by Giorgos Moutafis)

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