In Greece, living conditions in the Lesvos migrant refugee camp have not improved.

Refugee on the island of Lesbos (Greece) with her daughter (illustration). (CÉCILE DE KERVASDOUÉ / RADIO FRANCE)

The situation on the island of Lesvos, Greece, has barely improved in a year for asylum seekers. After the fire that completely destroyed the former Moria camp last September, unaccompanied minors, the elderly, the sick and pregnant women were evacuated to the continent as part of the vulnerable groups. The others were transferred to a former military camp with strictly controlled access: the Mavrovouni camp. The press is admitted there very slowly.

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Those staying there recognize that the security conditions are good, without comparison to the camp in Moria, where women put on diapers at night, for fear of being raped at night inside the camp if they needed to go to the toilet. But many sleep on the floor, the food is just as bad, there isn’t a school for so many children. And nobody can leave it freely. For example, despite the heat wave, refugees could not go swimming in the nearby sea, so close that when there are waves, water enters the camp and tents.

Officially, all asylum seekers were to be transferred in 2022 to a camp located in the north of the island, in Vastria, a desert region isolated from everything. But the population is opposed to the opening of this field where no road worthy of the name leads. It will be a totally closed camp, without schools, practically forbidden to the press and NGOs.

Europe did not oppose the construction of this type of camp, which confirms Athens in this policy, as illustrated by the statements made by the Minister of Immigration, Notis Mitarakis in Parliament on Tuesday: “The government of New Democracy [le parti conservateur au pouvoir] resolutely tackled the issue of illegal immigration. We are ready to face a new migration crisis, but we declare unambiguously that we will not be the gateway to illegal migration flows. We will never again be the open front door as we were in previous years, with the consequences that we islanders have experienced on the front lines. “

As a result, the five Aegean islands of “first reception” for asylum seekers (Leros, Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesbos) you will see this type of camp fully funded by the European Union. The one on the island of Samos is ready. Note that camps on the mainland are also in the process of becoming closed camps and banned from the press.

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