European Union propaganda and Lesbos refugees reality

This video about Iraq says about itself:

Mosul Offensive Will Create More Refugees, Displacement, and Humanitarian Disaster

11 July 2016

Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Phyllis Bennis says the fightback against ISIS requires the abandonment of more military force, and the pursuit of diplomacy with Russia and Iran.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Things go well on Lesbos, says Brussels. Until you start looking there yourself

Today, 12:14

In spite of Europe we still exist.” That’s the predominant feeling on Lesbos, the Greek island that was flooded last year by boat people. 600,000 of the 1 million refugees who then reached Greece arrived on the island off the Turkish coast.

After the EU-Turkey deal in March this year, the number of refugee dinghies dropped drastically. But the people are still afraid, noted EU correspondent Arjan Noorlander ….

Distressing situation

Noorlander decided to look for himself what has become of all the plans and optimistic words he heard in Brussels in recent months. He was disappointed drastically at what the EU is doing to help the refugees and the people of Lesbos. “It’s a very different situation than I expected after following the political discussions in Brussels. From these you get the idea that they really are tackling problems. That idea proves to be untrue here. It is distressing.”

He is shocked by the extent of the problem. What struck Noorlander most was a huge pile of life jackets at a local landfill. “Such a stack as a symbol of all those hundreds of thousands of boat people hurts one pretty hard inside. Then it becomes from a problem that you know from TV or from the political corridors suddenly a real problem of real people.”

“Europe has done preciously little for Lesbos,” he says. “You can see that the refugees all these months anyway were mostly helped by volunteers. In the official camps you see United Nations stickers everywhere, because the United Nations [contrary to the EU] is present.”

Brussels was said they would help the Greeks with the reception and even take over refugees. All that does not happen, Noorlander notes. People are thereby stuck on the islands, where it starts to get more crowded.

The facilities are in reasonable order, but because of the bigger crowds the situation is not improving. “The atmosphere in the camps is tense. There has to be done little before things may get out of hand.”

According to official figures, 58,000 refugees now reside in Greece. 11,000 of them are on the Aegean islands Lesbos, Chios and Samos.

Last week fourteen migrants from Lesbos were returned to Turkey: eight Syrians, four Pakistanis and two Algerians. …

Most poignant is the situation around the so-called emergency procedure. Part of the agreement was that newly arrived refugees would get clarity within 48 hours about their applications for asylum. …

Nothing like that happened, says Noorlander. “I have spoken to people in the camps who have been there for months and have just been told they will have to wait until December for their first asylum interview.” …

Why the difference between the Brussels [European Union] reality and the actual situation in Greece? The problem, according to Noorlander, is that the Brussels politicians and diplomats do not themselves come to see how things are in Lesbos.

Divisions rise inside EU at summit between Germany, France and Italy: here.

Oxfam condemns EU for ‘hell’ for refugees in Lesbos: here.

Norwegian anti-refugee fence at Russian border: here.

19 thoughts on “European Union propaganda and Lesbos refugees reality

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  8. Saturday 22nd July 2017

    posted by Morning Star in World

    REFUGEES from the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos face preliminary hearings today following their arrests on Tuesday, according to volunteer group Legal Centre Lesbos (LCL).

    Camp residents had engaged in a peaceful protest over frustrations at their limbo status in the morning, after which clashes erupted between riot police and a “handful of protesters,” the volunteers say.

    But “many of [the 35] arrested were not even part of the protest or clashes,” LCL maintains, charging that they were arrested due to their race or “location in the camp when raids and arrests took place.”

    The group believes Greek authorities are keen to see convictions for “exaggerated criminal charges” because they could allow individuals to be “excluded from the right to international protection” and deported back to the countries they have fled.

    Some of the arrested refugees “were brutally beaten” by police, LCL says, calling on locals to protest outside the courts today.


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  10. Strike threat by migrant camp staff on Greek island of Lesbos

    Staff working at the Moira migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos have threatened to strike from September 17 to oppose overcrowding and other inhuman conditions. Built to house around 3,000 migrants, Greece’s most notorious camp now holds more than 8,000 men, women and children. The migrants, many who are refugees from the Syrian civil war, are held in squalid conditions for many months while their asylum claims go through the bureaucratic process.

    A statement released by a committee representing the staff about the conditions faced by migrants read, “The situation is fraught with dangers, whether it be risk of epidemics, of deaths caused by inclement weather, suicides or mutinies.” Several NGOs and the UN High Commission for Refugees have criticised conditions in the camps.


  11. Friday, 11 January 2019 ‘VULNERABLE AND ABANDONED’

    Oxfam report into the plight of refugees on Greek Islands

    HUNDREDS of pregnant women, unaccompanied children and survivors of torture are being abandoned in refugee camps on the Greek islands, an Oxfam report revealed on Wednesday. At the end of December, the Moria camp in Lesvos was at around double its official capacity of 3,100 places, with just under 5,000 migrants living inside the camp and another 2,000 in an informal camp next to Moria, known as the Olive Grove.

    Oxfam’s report details how the system to identify and protect the most vulnerable people has broken down due to chronic understaffing and flawed processes. For much of the last year there has been just one government-appointed doctor in Lesvos who was responsible for screening as many as 2,000 people arriving each month.

    In November, there was no doctor at all so there were no medical screenings happening to identify the most vulnerable people. The existing procedures were already confusing because they have changed three times in the past year alone. The Oxfam report ‘Vulnerable and abandoned’ includes accounts of mothers being sent away from hospital to live in a tent as early as four days after giving birth by Caesarean section.

    It tells of survivors of sexual violence and other traumas living in a camp where fights break out regularly and where two thirds of residents say they never feel safe. Hundreds of vulnerable people are being lumped together to live in the EU ‘hotspot’ camp of Moria which is at twice its capacity.

    Renata Rendón, Oxfam’s Head of Mission in Greece, said: ‘It is irresponsible and reckless to fail to recognise the most vulnerable people and respond to their needs.
    ‘Our partners have met mothers with newborn babies sleeping in tents, and teenagers wrongly registered as adults being locked up. Surely identifying and providing for the needs of such people is the most basic duty of the Greek government and its European partners.’

    Under Greek and EU law, the legal definition of vulnerability specifically includes unaccompanied children, women who are pregnant or with young babies, people with disabilities and survivors of torture, among others. The daily living conditions for migrants on the Greek islands compound the challenges for vulnerable people:
    Moria camp is severely overcrowded at double its capacity, and has often been at more than three times its capacity in 2018.

    Vulnerable people are theoretically allowed to leave the islands. However, the accommodation for people seeking asylum on the mainland is also insufficient, and according to the UNHCR, more than 4,000 people eligible for transfer were stuck on the islands of Lesvos and Samos in November.

    Every year, conditions in and around the camp deteriorate further with the onset of winter because it is not equipped for cold temperatures, heavy rain and snowfall. While the Greek government is directly responsible for many of the procedural failures and the abysmal conditions in which people seeking asylum on the Greek islands live, European Union member states, too, are responsible for this crisis due to their refusal to share responsibility for hosting people seeking asylum.

    People who arrive on the Greek islands have often suffered traumatic experiences.
    Many have fled conflict and persecution in their home countries, experienced abuse, violence and exploitation at the hands of human traffickers, state officials and others on their journey, and survived a dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.

    Most people come from countries ravaged by war and violence such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and have been forced to leave their family, homes, jobs, or studies behind only to find themselves at risk of abuse, violence and exploitation during their journey.

    They should have access to the normal Greek asylum process instead of a fast-tracked process designed to send them back to Turkey. They should be given suitable accommodation and appropriate medical care on the mainland.

    Oxfam said there was a particularly worrying trend of authorities detaining teenagers and survivors of torture after failing to recognise them as vulnerable. Legal and social workers told Oxfam they frequently came across detainees who should not have been locked up because of their age or because of poor physical or mental health.

    Once in detention, it is even more difficult for them to get the medical or psychological help they need. In one case, a 28-year-old asylum seeker from Cameroon was locked up for five months based on his nationality, despite having serious mental health issues.

    No one checked his physical and mental health before he was detained, and it took a month for him to see a psychologist. He said: ‘We had just two hours a day when we were allowed to get out of the container … The rest of the time you are sitting in a small space with 15 other men who all have their own problems.’

    Winter has brought heavy rain to Lesvos turning the tented areas of the camp into a muddy bog. The temperature is expected to drop below freezing in the next week and there could be snow. Desperate to keep warm, people burn anything they can find including plastic and they take dangerous improvised heaters into their tents.

    The situation is particularly unbearable for the people who live in the Olive Grove. The tents, which are often simply bought from local stores, are pitched on a sandy hill, and muddy streams of water run through the camp whenever it rains, frequently flooding the floors of tents and the few belongings people have.

    Rendón added: ‘Local authorities and humanitarian groups are making efforts to improve conditions in places like Lesvos. Unfortunately, this is made almost impossible by policies supported by the Greek government and EU that keep people trapped on the islands for indefinite periods.’

    The report is illustrated with comments from those with experience of the camp at Moria. ‘The situation in Moria is beyond the limits of the imagination. I have been visiting the camp since 2017. Every time you think it cannot get any worse, it does,’
    said Maria, a social worker for Oxfam’s partner, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR).

    ‘I see Moria as hell. I know women who gave birth, they had a C-section delivery and after four days they were returned to Moria with their newborn babies. They have to recover under dirty, unhealthy conditions,’ said Sonia Andreu, manager at the ‘Bashira Centre’ for migrant women in Lesvos.

    ‘70 people have to share one toilet, so hygiene is very bad. There are many small children and babies in the camp. Sometimes people do not even have a tent and winter is coming. In the Olive Grove, there are snakes, scorpions and rats,’ said ‘John’, who works with an NGO in Lesvos (name changed).

    ‘We sleep with 25 women in one tent and we all share one toilet. That’s a problem in itself, and because of the lack of regulation anyone can use our toilet. ‘The toilets are really dirty, and women wash themselves there, too. This means they get vaginal diseases and there is no medicine available,’ said ‘Clara’, 36, from Cameroon who lives in Moria camp (name changed).

    Oxfam is calling for the Greek government and EU member states to deploy more expert staff, including doctors and psychologists, and to fix the screening system on the Greek islands. It said that more people seeking asylum should be transferred to mainland Greece on a regular basis – particularly the vulnerable.

    Oxfam is also calling on EU member states to share responsibility for receiving asylum seekers with Greece more fairly by reforming the ‘Dublin Regulation’ in line with the position of the European Parliament.


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