Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis praises the temporary facility in Kara Tepe despite harsh conditions. Evidence of pushbacks continue to mount and shipwreck off Lesvos cost two lives.
Following a visit to the temporary facility in Kara Tepe also referred to as Moria 2.0, Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis praised the conditions in the camp. Deputy Director-General of the European Commission, Beate Gminder, who took part in the visit expressed that she saw significant improvements of the facility currently hosting 7,250 people including 2,400 children. However, that interpretation of the situation stands in contrast to the observations of NGOs and inhabitants. According to Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) power cuts, insufficient sanitarian facilities, and lack of protection defines the camp. Further, the organisation states that it is unsuited for harsh weather conditions with winter approaching: “The camp’s location leaves it particularly exposed to north winds. Tents are at the mercy of weather conditions and are unstable when there is wind. On one occasion, a tent where Reception and Identification Service (RIS) staff was working was blown by the wind into the sea!”. Residents of the temporary facility concur: “At night, when the wind blows the tent is shaking and we are not able to sleep”, says Hassan*, a refugee from Afghanistan. Saeb, a victim of torture also from Afghanistan, says: “We put sandbags at the entrance to prevent the water from entering. The tents do not have a floor, all they have are some pallets, nothing else. Some have tried to construct a ‘wall’ of soil but it is not possible to protect the tent from (flooding)” On 3 December the European Commission, Greek authorities and EU agencies agreed on a plan to establish an “up-to-standard” reception centre on the island of Lesvos by early September 2021.
According to the Aegean Boat Report a total of 20 boats embarked from Turkey to Greece between 23-29 November with 362 people onboard. 130 people arrived in Greece while the remaining 232 people were either stopped by the Turkish Coastguard or pushed back. The organisation further reports that 2,622 people have been drifting in the Aegean Sea this year in more than 150 life rafts manufactured in Greece. None were related to shipwrecks or boats in distress, none were picked up by the Greek coastguard and all appeared in areas where the wind and current was directed towards Turkey. 85 people scattered in several groups from at least four boats, among them many children, have gone into hiding in the woods on Lesvos to avoid being returned to Turkey. While some have moved towards populated areas many reportedly remain in the woods running low on supplies. On 2 November the body of a woman was recovered on Lesvos doubling the death toll after a dinghy sank off Lesvos. 32 people including three children and all of Somali origin have been rescued.
For further information:
- ECRE, Greece: Frontex Denies Involvement in Pushbacks, Expert Council Critique of NGO Registration Rules, November 2020
- ECRE, Greece: EU to Finance Camps on Islands, CPT Calls for Reforms of Detention System and end of Pushbacks, Whereabouts of Rejected Asylum Seekers Unknown, November 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Father of Drowned Child Arrested, Thousands of Pushbacks Documented, Frontex Involvement in Pushbacks Under Scrutiny, November 2020
- Joint statement, Turning rhetoric into reality: New monitoring mechanism at European borders should ensure fundamental rights and accountability, November 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Well-run PIKPA Camp Evicted while Situation on Islands and Mainland Continue to Deteriorate, November 2020
- ECRE, Frontex: Commission Calls for Urgent Meeting over Complicity in Pushbacks, Critique of 100 Million Euro Investment in Drone Surveillance, October 2020
- ECRE, Greece: PIKPA Eviction Postponed, Shortages in New Lesvos Camp, COVID Outbreak Continues, New Pushback Incidents, Golden Dawn Leadership Straight to Jail, October 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Golden Dawn Declared Criminal Organisation, People Return from Mainland to Lesvos, Push-backs Continue, October 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Closure of Accommodation for Vulnerable Amid Deteriorating Conditions in Camps, Transfers to Mainland, October 2020
- ECRE, Greece: New Camp Filling Up, Conditions are Harsh and COVID on the Rise, September 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Transfers to Improvised Tent Camp has Begun, Thousands Sleeping Rough, EU to Co-manage New Reception Structure in Lesbos, September 2020
- Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Solidarity Now and others: Joint statement of 48 NGOs regarding the fire at the Registration and Identification Centre at Moria, September 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Moria Fire – Thousands Sleeping Rough, Chaos Prevails, Calls for Structural Solutions, September 2020
- ECRE, Greece: 10,000 People Prevented Access, Lockdown Extended, Recognition Rate Increases, September 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Border Fence Extension, Denial of Push-backs, Anti-migrant Violence, Continued Destitution, Drop in Protection Rate, August 2020
- ECRE, Greece: No Accountability for Deadly Shooting, Continued Push-backs and Evictions, Critique of Crack-down on NGOs, German States Willing to Relocate, July 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Camp Lockdown Extended, Children in Detention, Cuts in Housing, Red-tape on NGOs and Continued Push-backs, June 2020
- AIDA, 2019 Update Greece, June 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Pushbacks Continue, Eviction of Makeshift Camp in Athens, June 2020
- ECRE, Greece: 500 to Escape Greece – Thousands Facing Destitution, Detention and Push-backs, June 2020