Asylum seekers waiting in a line with their belongings as refugees and migrants from the destroyed Moria camp wait to enter a new temporary camp near Kara Tepe on Lesbos island | Photo: EPA/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS
Asylum seekers waiting in a line with their belongings as refugees and migrants from the destroyed Moria camp wait to enter a new temporary camp near Kara Tepe on Lesbos island | Photo: EPA/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS

Doctors without Border (MSF) has called on the Greek and the EU authorities to stop their efforts to rebuild a "new system of containment for refugees and asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos, Greece" after a fire destroyed the notoriuous Moria camp.

Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF) is urging the Greek and the EU authorities to stop their efforts to rebuild a new "system of containment for refugees and asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos, Greece, and to break once and for all the cycle of suffering for people trapped on the Greek islands" that has been in place for five years.

"After fires which mostly destroyed the Moria refugee camp on 8 and 10 September, thousands of people have been forced to sleep in the streets with almost no assistance, no hygiene measures and no sanitation facilities," the organization said in a statement issued on September 17.

On Thursday morning (September 17), a Greek police operation began to convince people to register in a new camp and only those who agree to do so with have access to basic services and the continuation of the procedure to request asylum, MSF said.

'Change migration policies'

"European states must take the opportunity presented by the destruction of Moria to radically change their migration policies. The first step is the evacuation of everyone on Lesbos and other Greek islands through functioning and regular relocation mechanism in order to ensure safe and dignified lodgings on the mainland, in Greece or inside the European Union," said MSF operations coordinator in Greece Stefano Argenziano, currently on the island of Lesbos.

A statement on the Italian website of the organization noted that "the last five years have shown the failure of the EU-Turkey agreement, the human cost of which was suffered by thousands of people who had survived war, violence, and deprivation, stuck on the islands in inhuman conditions and without recourse to suitable asylum procedures. Year after year, good intentions of European leaders multiply but the reality on the ground -- which MSF teams working on the island bear witness to -- is filled with unceasing humiliation, xenophobia, and violence."

MSF urges legal channels for migration

MSF continues to call for the implementation of legal, safe channels for those seeking a safe place to live and a dignified future for themselves and their families. "There is no migrant emergency. What is in crisis is the European reception and asylum system. There are possible solutions: many countries in Europe have said they are willing to take in people seeing safety. The time has come for EU countries to recognise the failure of dissuasion policies. We need to get rid of the cynical political calculation suffered by migrants and refugees. Let's create more humane solutions,'' Argenziano said.

 

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