Actions against migrants continue in Lesbos!

Photo credit: New York Times

Doctors Without Borders has expressed serious concerns over the continuing deterioration of the situation of migrants and refugees in Lesbos, a Greek island.

In a report, the group says it has called on Greek authorities to investigate reports of hundreds of missing migrants and allegations of people being threatened, abducted, and maltreated.

The group’s teams working on Lesbos are alerted by the UNHCR and other actors when migrants arrive on the island and need urgent medical treatment.

Nihal Osman, the group’s project coordinator in Lesbos said’ “Since we started providing emergency medical assistance to people arriving by boat to Lesbos in June 2022, we have been unable to find approximately 940 people who were never found at the reported location.”

Migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Lesbos are sent to Mavrovouni and Megala Therma. The former is one of several EU-funded Closed Controlled Access Centres (CCAC). 2,700 people have been accommodated there this year.

Although CCAC’s were marketed as an improvement in living conditions for migrants, they were effectively designed to restrict people’s movement and keep them contained in prison-like facilities. Greek authorities have stopped providing food to recognized refugees and people who denied international protection since May 17. They have also announced plans to evict them.

Meanwhile, children of families who were denied international protection have been denied their social security numbers. They are therefore not qualified to receive basic vaccinations which is a violation of their rights.

Doctors Without Borders’ teams have been providing healthcare in Megala Therma since 2020. The situation is described as alarming.

There, people are not registered and are arbitrarily detained for days and in some cases, they are detained for weeks. People are put into overcrowded Refugee Housing Units without beds. There are times 14 people are squeezed into a unit with space for five.

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