Lone children face insecurity on Greek island


Lone children face insecurity on Greek island

Author: Boris Cheshirkov | unhcr.org | 14 October 2019

Children seeking asylum who have been separated from their parents say they face poor conditions and threats of violence at a reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos.

Greece. UNHCR appeals to EU states to relocate unaccompanied children

Zemar* was only 15 when he arrived from Afghanistan at the Moria reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos last month. He had survived a string of traumatic experiences and just been separated from his parents and needed calm. He did not get it.

On his first night, thieves stole his bag. The loss compounded his sense of loneliness.

“They took everything,” he said. “I had no one to talk to.”

A few nights later, three men attacked him. He woke up, fought them off and escaped to a police patrol at Moria’s main gate. He said he spent the night on the sidewalk, safe but unable to explain to the officers what had happened because there was no interpreter.

Conditions have become grim at the Moria reception centre for asylum seekers, which now hosts 12,800 people – five times the capacity it was designed for – in containers and tents inside the centre and at an adjacent olive grove. Nearly 1,000 children, most of them teens, live in Moria without parents or relatives. Half are housed in four protected sections marked A through D and a Safe Zone, but the rest sleep in a tent-like warehouse, known as a Rubb Hall, where adult asylum seekers also stay. Read more>>>