People in the dumps. A “joint pilot” on Lesvos, a “new start on migration” for the EU
Today, July 28th 2021, marks the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Refugee Convention. While Europe celebrates the day, the EU continues to violate the most fundamental principles of the Convention.
Thousands of vulnerable men, women and children on Lesvos struggle to survive and protect their dignity and autonomy, yet the EU and the Greek government continue to humiliate and dehumanize them, by keeping them confined in the most degrading and inhumane conditions.
Lesvos, and the Greek islands, keep serving as the laboratory, where the EU policies on migration are exercised and tested. On December 3rd, 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the EU and Greek authorities for the construction of a new “pilot” refugee camp, a Multi Purpose Reception and Identification Center (MPRIC) on Lesvos. The Closed Controlled Structure, as the Greek government calls it, “paves the way for bringing into practice the guiding principles of the new Pact”.
However, while the European Commission emphasises their focus on the protection of refugees and human rights, with the new Pact and MoU, they institutionalize the confinement of asylum seekers at the European borders, not only on the island itself, but in isolated hotspots.
Further, by using their commitment to decongest the islands as justification, the Greek authorities closed the camps of Kara Tepe and PIKPA that formerly offered more than 1000 dignified positions, in order to build a new, expensive camp with the capacity to hold 5000 individuals.