The Greek government, with the support of EU leaders, should act now before the onset of winter to end Greece’s “containment policy,” twelve human rights and humanitarian organizations –Amnesty International among them-, said in a campaign that began today.
The groups began a countdown to the official start of winter, December 21, 2017. They said that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, with the support of EU leaders, should immediately transfer people to improved conditions on the mainland and take concrete measures by December 21 so that no asylum seekers are left out in the cold.
As of December 1, the hotspots on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos are 7,400 over capacity: 12,981 people in facilities with a capacity of just 5,576, the groups say.
Thousands, including single women, female heads of households, and very young children, live in summer tents, essentially sleeping on the ground, and exposed to the cold, damp and rain as the weather worsens.
This will be the second winter asylum seekers have had to spend in unsuitable facilities on the islands since the EU-Turkey Deal came into effect in March 2016. Last winter, three men died on Lesvos in the six days between January 24 and 30.
As part of the campaign, the groups are teaming up to highlight the deplorable conditions asylum seekers trapped on the islands face; to call on European citizens to get involved; and to monitor and update the public on the response of the Greek government and EU leaders.
The groups participating in the campaign are: Amnesty International, Caritas Hellas, Greek Council for Refugees, Help Refugees, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service, Oxfam, Praksis, Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR), Solidarity Now, Terre des Hommes.
Source: Amnesty International