Police have cleared the small community-run PIKPA migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. The facility had been created to provide a safe haven for particularly vulnerable refugees and migrants. The nearly 80 people living at PIKPA will be transferred to the Kara Tepe camp.
The PIKPA migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has been evacuated by local authorities, according to the Lesbos Solidarity aid group, which runs the camp. Police reportedly sealed off the camp in the early hours of Friday, refusing entry to counselors and the press. Lawyers from the Pro Asyl NGO were also denied access according to reports.
Karl Kopp, the director of european affairs at Pro Asyl, said that Greece was committing "one human rights violation after the next while blatantly ignoring human dignity."
Pro Asyl further said on Twitter in German that Greek authorities sought "to destroy this symbol of humanity at all costs. They don't want shelters for refugees like PIKPA to even exist on the Greek islands. They want everyone to go to their misery camps."
Several other NGOs, including Amnesty International, have also criticized the move. The evacuation coincided with an earthquake and subsequent tsunami warning in the Aegean Sea.
A refuge for refugees
Since 2012, the PIKPA camp has catered to the needs of thousands of particularly vulnerable refugees and migrants such as pregnant women, the chronically ill, gay and transsexual asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and families.
Most recently, 74 people were living at the self-governing camp. Authorities had already threatened to close the camp earlier in October, suspending the eviction order for an indefinite period at first without providing any reason.
Major police operation at dawn
According to the Greek ANA news agency, authorities had announced the eviction order for Thursday already. Police officers had arrived at the camp on Thursday, bringing several empty buses with them with the intention to clear the camp.
Locals and NGOs representatives protested against the police presence in solidarity with the people living at the camp. After some time, the units then moved away from the site again — only to return the next day.
The residents of the camp are now to be taken to the Kara Tepe camp, which has had to bear the brunt of migrants being resettled after the destruction of the Moria camp.
with epd, KNA