A dozen human rights organisations, including Oxfam and Human Rights Watch (HRW), have united to highlight the issue, stressing Greece needs the support of EU leaders to end the policy of “containment”, which restricts asylum-seekers to the islands while their claims are processed.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been urged to transfer the refugees to better living conditions on the mainland by the time winter officially starts on 21 December.
“This remains a matter of life and death,” Jana Frey, Greece’s director for the International Rescue Committee, said in a statement.
“There is absolutely no excuse for the conditions on the islands right now – thousands of people crammed into overcrowded and desperately under-resourced facilities.”
Migrant “hotspots” at Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros, and Kos are almost 7,200 over capacity, with close to 13,000 people, including many women and children, in facilities with a capacity of just 5,576, according to the groups. The majority of refugees are believed to be Syrians and Iraqis fleeing their war-torn countries.
Those stuck in the camps live in harsh and often unsanitary conditions, often sleeping on the ground, exposed to the cold and rain, with limited access to proper toilets and showers, while women are forced to share tents and containers with unrelated men, risking their safety, the groups said.
Jan 16, 2019Lebanon's Syrian refugee camps battered by winter storms Bekaa Valley, Lebanon – Syrian refugees in Lebanon are struggling with the aftermath of a storm that drenched the country's eastern and northern regions, delivered floodwaters and damaged hundreds of makeshift camps. Storm Norma, which last week brought with it incessant rain and snowfall, affected more than 22,000 refugees, […]
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