More and more people are allowed to leave the Mavrovouni camp (Moria 2.0), since restrictions began to lift in June.
Many people are also allowed to leave the island, but not on official transfers and unfortunately, not with official documents. This is problematic because they are then stuck in Athens without access to official support. (Hier ein Beispiel, was geschehen kann: Arbeiten auf der Straße: Athens Flüchtlingskinder, only in German but translation via Browser possible)
Numbers in June
There are still around 5’000 people residing in the Mavrovouni camp on Lesvos. Around 32% are children, 22% women and 46% men. Overall, the situation is a bit less stressful. However, the empty tents in the camp were taken down instead of distributing the space amongst the remaining people. This means they still have to share a tent with up to 12 people, have no privacy and no space. Overall, 6’000 people are left stuck on Lesvos.
End of cash! End of last independence!
In July, all cash transfers will end for people who live outside the official refugee camps or public provided housing (ESTIA Housing). Approximately 25’000 people in Greece are affected by this. In order to try and not lose this minimal financial support, their only options are leaving their private flats and moving back to the camps. This decision forces them to give up their little bit of freedom, and independence.
A high number of secondary rejections of asylum requests have occurred on Lesvos because Turkey has been officially considered and announced as a safe third country. This affects people from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who together make up two thirds of all asylum seekers in Greece. Amnesty International calls this decision by the Greek authorities “another dangerous step towards dismantling asylum in Europe”.
The police started to search for people in the Camp who received such a second rejection of their case and are currently collecting detailed information on who they live with. NGOs and people on the move feel this behaviour by the authorities and the police is an indication of possible future deportations. However, Turkey, which has to agree to every person they “take back”, has not agreed to any deported people since March. Therefore it seems more likely that people with a secondary rejection will be put into pre-removal detention centers which basically means they wait in prison until their deportation on an unknown date.
Mental and physical health deteriorating
MSF and other medical actors keep warning about the mental health situation of many of Mavrovouni’s camp residents. Many of the people not only show traumas from their escapes, but many more also start to have mental health problems caused by the inhumane living conditions in the camp. They are especially concerned about the youngest as children in the camp have no access to education or playful distraction. At the same time, the hottest part of the summer started and the heat is taking its toll on the physical health of the residents. The camp feels like a sauna without any opportunity for residents to take a break from the ongoing heat. The electricity in the tent camp is too weak to provide anyone with ventilation or much shade.
Conviction for the Moria fires
On the 11th of June, four young persons were convicted for starting the fire in the former RIC Moria. They all got 10 years in prison. During the trial, the only testimony against the accused had many irregularities. No press, no international observers and no members of the public were allowed in the court. Read more here.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) found that covid-19 hit migrants the worst, and their vaccinations fell behind. In Greece, “25 clusters were found in facilities for refugees and asylum seekers and the risk of infection for these people, compared with the rest of the Greek population, was 2.5-3 times higher”. The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) warns that migrants in the EU are at risk of being left behind in the EU vaccination race.
The current covid-19 outbreak on Lesvos is slowly improving- only 55 people have tested positive in the past two weeks. 342 refugees and asylum seekers have already been vaccinated, with over 2,000 more registered to be vaccinated. Medical teams within the camp ran a huge outreach campaign these past weeks to increase vaccine rates and registrations.