In the end of August 2020, Subjective Values, the Forum member organisation from Hungary, organised a study tour to the island of Lesvos (Greece) to learn the situation on the island and especially around the Moria refugee camp, one of the largest refugee camps in Europe.

Like many experts and journalists, we had to indicate numerous grave problems and violations of human rights such as:

– Increased levels of xenophobia and open acts of violence against NGOs that help the refugees;

– Complete closure of the camp for several months which technically turned it into a prison, especially in circumstances of current sanitary conditions and the threat of spreading COVID-19 inside the camp4

– Deterioration of the economic situation due to the sanitary and economic crisis on the island. The local population was left alone with the growing catastrophe;

– The emergence of cases in the illegal deportation and the “push back” of refugees located on the territory of Greece back to Turkey;

– The complete lack of political will from the European Union, and especially from individual EU countries, to cope with the problems and take responsibility for the fate of refugees.

The whole situation made a very heavy and depressing impression, but it was clear that this was only a time bomb. The “bomb” exploded on 9 September, when several cases of COVID-19 infection were detected in the Moria camp. After that, a fire broke out in the camp, which completely destroyed it, leaving thousands of people homeless.

Migrants and refugees who lived in the Moria camp are still in a desperate situation, the police are closing their access to the city, and the movement of refugees to the territories of other EU States was organised only for unaccompanied minors. People are homeless, without basic sanitary facilities, and without hope of their applications for refugee status being processed soon.

The humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding in Europe today should not be forgotten because of the current economic and political problems.

In the frame of the trip, an article was published in the German newspaper “Taz”, which can be found here in German and here in English translation.

Author: Pitchouguina Valeria