Refugees wait to be registered in the Asylum Service in the Identification Center of Moria, Lesvos island, Greece | Credit: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU
Refugees wait to be registered in the Asylum Service in the Identification Center of Moria, Lesvos island, Greece | Credit: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

Nineteen NGOs have signed a joint statement saying that the conditions at the Moria migrant reception center are worse than ever. They have called for an improvement in conditions and a reduction in the severe overcrowding of the camps on country's islands.

While conditions at migrant reception centers on the Greek islands continue to deteriorate, 19 civil society organizations have signed a joint statement calling on the authorities to take urgent action. 


"Over 17,000 people remain crammed in Greek island reception centers with a total capacity for only 6,000, living in desperate conditions which do not meet humanitarian standards," the organizations said, urging authorities to "engage in the creation of sustainable solutions for the decongestion of the islands and to immediately improve reception conditions for refugees." 

"It is nothing short of shameful that people are expected to endure such horrific conditions on European soil," the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) said in the statement. Other organizations that signed the statement include ActionAid Hellas, Caritas Hellas, Greek Council for Refugees, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam and Terre des Hommes. 

Appalling conditions on Moria 

The organizations said that Moria, the first reception center on the Greek island of Lesbos - which was recently described in a BBC report as "the worst refugee camp in the world" - currently hosts a population three times its maximum capacity. 

"The sewage system does not work and filthy toilet water reaches the tents and mattresses where children sleep. This, despite funds for sewage system improvement having been approved for some time. Reports of sexual violence and abuse are on the rise."

The NGOs did not only criticized the conditions in Moria, but also at other centers. "The first reception centre on Samos is six times over its capacity," the statement said.

'Take immediate and urgent action' 

"There is no excuse for the shameful conditions in which thousands of people remain trapped in limbo while they wait out their asylum claims. The Greek authorities must take immediate and urgent action to ensure that refugees benefit from full access to their basic rights and that they are accommodated in dignified conditions, in accordance with national and international law. The relief measures promised by the Greek authorities to create thousands of additional safe and dignified accommodation spaces on the mainland and transfer people off the islands to the mainland must be implemented immediately as a matter of urgency," the statement concluded. 
 

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