leKids at lesbos refugee camp
leKids at lesbos refugee camp || Fotomovimiento (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Time to put an end to the humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands

Time to take responsibility


Over 46,000 people in search of protection are currently encamped on the Greek islands in and around the official refugee camp areas, which are designed for a maximum capacity of approximately 8,000 people. In these overcrowded camps, people are living in appalling conditions, with lack of access to basic shelter, security, food, medical care, and sanitation. This lack of basic human care combined with constant tensions are adding to a traumatic situation. At the next European Council on 2-3 December, our government leaders have the opportunity to solve a humanitarian crisis, which has long reached its critical limit.  This is why we have sent them a letter calling them to immediately improve the living conditions and relocate asylum seekers to other member states. You can also take action.

We need EU action

European governments have systematically and repeatedly neglected to truly share responsibility for the horrific circumstances on the Greek islands. With winter approaching, hundreds of new people arriving every night, and no concrete plan to improve the living conditions, the situation is continuing to deteriorate into what has become a fully-fledged humanitarian crisis.

We therefore call on the European Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs to end this crisis and take concrete action to:

  • Improve living conditions immediately by providing shelter, medical care, sanitation, and sufficient food via emergency procedures;
  • Set up emergency relocation measures to other European member states;
  • Accelerate family reunification for separated minors as well as for other individuals with family members residing in other member states;
  • Stop restricting the freedom of movement of asylum seekers within the territory of Greece which leads to overcrowding of the camps on the islands;
  • Oppose recently announced measures to replace the main camps in Lesbos, Chios and Samos with ‘closed pre-departure centers’, which would further violate basic human rights and lead to the systematic detention of asylum seekers and subsequent traumatic experiences;
  • Ensure asylum claims are processed adequately, by well-trained case workers, interpreters, and decision makers and with effective legal, medical, and psychological support and accountability;
  • Encourage and support local and international humanitarian activities, who currently are struggling to protect both human life and dignity by providing basic services.

☟ Take action ☟

Share this page and write to your ministers! Let’s make sure that the EU leaders take responsibility for people in search of protection in Europe. 

Dear [insert minister], at the JHA Council of 2-3 December you have the opportunity to #takeresponsibility and end the humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands. We call on you to show solidarity and take your fair share in the reception of refugees.