On 17 March, people will come together all over the world to show solidarity with refugees and migrants who are imprisoned, who are mistreated and tortured, and who lost their lives as a result of EU’s dirty anti-migration deals.
We continue to denounce the EU-Turkey statement which has turned Lesvos, and other islands in the Aegean, into prison islands. Two years since the deal, the living conditions in Moria camp continue to be inhumane and unacceptable. A full and fair asylum procedure is not guaranteed. There are a dozen Greek lawyers in Lesvos for a refugee population of over 7000. Legal aid has become an empty shell. Arbitrary detention of asylum-seekers and migrants is widespread. Two thirds of the people inside PROKEKA, the detention centre inside Moria camp, are asylum-seekers. Single male Syrians are detained upon arrival and stay detained during their asylum procedure. The government does not ensure adequate access to medical and psychological care. There is an ongoing lack of interpreters, which seriously hampers the vulnerability screenings and provision of medical care. Thousands of children do not have access to formal education.
As a direct result of the despair inflicted by the EU – Turkey statement, suicide attempts have become a daily reality in the Greek islands. On Tuesday 13 March, a young Syrian man got electrocuted when he climbed an electricity pillar in protest of the decision to keep him stuck in Lesvos island. He survived but is still hospitalised. This is just one of countless stories that demonstrate the devastating impact of the deal on human lives.
Spring has arrived and boat arrivals have picked up. 300 people arrived in the weekend of 10-11 March, including many children and babies. On Wednesday night (14 March) alone, three boats arrived in Lesvos, carrying around 180 people. People who hoped to find safety in Europe instead find Moria camp. Overcrowding and bad living conditions lead to increasing tensions. The current situation in Moria camp is a direct result of the EU-Turkey statement and puts the life and safety of thousands of people at risk.
We condemn all the European governments who share the responsibility for the human rights violations suffered by thousands of refugees and migrants in Greece today. We condemn all European governments for turning their back on the local communities in the Greek islands who have supported refugees for years.
We demand to open the islands and to have adequate reception on the mainland for refugees, outside of detention facilities. Other European countries must show solidarity and must allow refugees from Greece to relocate in their countries, including through family reunification.
We say “no” to detention hotspots. We say “no” to deportations to Turkey and unsafe home countries. We say “no” to police violence and discrimination against migrants and refugees. We fight for justice for all refugees and migrants who were arbitrarily arrested and face criminal charges. All police officers who have committed police violence must be brought to justice. We will continue to show solidarity and to fight for our right to demonstrate peacefully and without fear.
Efi Latsoudi, founding member of Lesvos Solidarity: “One year ago we marched in Mytilini with over 1500 people, together with the refugee communities. Some refugees who were in that march are still trapped here, they are still waiting. Many are at risk of being deported to Turkey or their home country, where they are not safe. Moria camp is still full. The boats are still coming.
The attention for what’s happening on the Greek islands is fading. Away from the public eye, human rights violations take place here on a daily basis. On 17 March we demonstrate to show that we do not give up. We are still here, in solidarity with refugees and migrants. One month ahead of the trial, we also express our solidarity with the Moria 35, the 35 African asylum-seekers who were arbitrarily arrested on 18 July and who suffered brutal police violence. We keep fighting for a Europe of solidarity and human rights.”
17 March 2018 - 12.00
Speeches by (available for interview): representatives of teachers’ and doctors’ unions, local doctors and lawyers, refugee communities, members of the local coordination group for refugee and migrant support, representatives Lesvos Legal Centre, representatives Lesvos Solidarity
Carmen Dupont, Lesvos Solidarity