Cite as: Afouxenidis, A. Petrou, M. Kandylis, G. Tramountanis, A. and D. Giannaki, 2017, “Dealing with a Humanitarian Crisis: Refugees on the Eastern EU Border of the Island of Lesvos”. Journal of Applied Security Research 12(1): 7-39.
Between the summer of 2015 and early 2016, an unprecedented number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, mainly Syrian, passed through the Greek border with Turkey, landing on the island of Lesvos. This article recognizes the failure of Europe's haphazard patchwork approach to migration, asylum, and refugees in light of the ongoing politics and strategies for dealing with the humanitarian crisis. The article focuses both on top-down policies, namely those agreed by the European Union (EU), Turkey, and those instigated by the Greek state, and bottom-up practices such as those put in place by ordinary individual volunteers and civil society organizations. The article offers evidence and perspective for legislators, academics, and the wider public on the complexities of addressing large scale humanitarian crises with scarce resources while effectively managing the security concerns.