Europe is criminalizing humanitarian aid


Europe is criminalizing humanitarian aid

Author: Sean Binder | | 5 June 2019

Moria Camp, Lesvos, November 2018.

My first night in jail was 21 August, 2018. Sharing my cell was an 18-year-old Afghan asylum seeker who was due for deportation to his dangerous country. It was not the kind of solidarity I had expected when I arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos nearly one year earlier.

I came to help with search and rescue operations at sea for asylum seekers within European waters. The next 106 days in a Greek jail taught me that human solidarity ends at Europe’s edge.

Lesvos, close to the Turkish coast, continues to be a primary entry point for asylum seekers, despite the terrors of the sea crossing and horrible conditions in the island’s main camp, Moria, where extreme hardship has caused children to attempt suicide.

When I arrived, I was unprepared for the depth of frustration, contradiction, and complexity in the situation for asylum seekers trapped here. I was more naive than I’d care to admit. But I had also not anticipated the incredible and tireless community, local and international, young and old, skilled and not-so-much, who work to help new arrivals and the thousands of people stuck in the sprawl of over-crowded camps. Read more>>>