cpt.org | 29 September 2023
The “Deadly End” of migrant management
CPT – Aegean Migrant Solidarity has published “Deadly End,” a report presenting quantitative and qualitative data on the deaths that occurred in the detention centres of Lesvos, in particular after their conversion into ‘hotspots’ in March 2016. After the EU-Turkey Deal, an agreement that attempted to reduce migration through Turkey to Europe, the ‘hot-spot’ model became the EU’s main approach to migration management.
This report is structured along three axes. First, it is the product of systematic press monitoring and research from March 2016 to September 2020. Secondly, CPT spoke with and interviewed people who were directly or indirectly related to the events described, conducting 12 interviews under the condition of anonymity with migrants, lawyers, doctors and NGO workers. Thirdly, CPT extended the research to relevant academic literature and journalistic articles, while keeping track of existing legislation and the changes that have taken place over the years.
“This crucial report represents the paramount importance of civil society in documenting and archiving the consequences of European migration policy on the lives of people on the move,” noted Nikos Xypolitas, Professor of Sociology at the University of the Aegean.
From March 2016 until September 2020—the end of the Moria Reception and Identification Centre (RIC)—26 people lost their lives while trapped in Moria. Despite the rhetoric of a ‘humanitarian crisis,’ the involvement of civil society through the presence of dozens of NGOs working inside detention centres has failed to make these centres neither ‘humane’ nor sustainable. The general discourse surrounding the deaths in detention centres is that of “isolated incidents,” but CPT’s report defends the opposite: the way in which detention centres were built and operated implicitly foretold of the migrant deaths that followed. In other words, according to the testimonies of interviewees, the distance between life and death becomes dangerously close inside the detention centre. It is precisely this liminal space that CPT attempts to illustrate.
CPT-Aegean Migrant Solidarity partner organization Legal Centre Lesvos (LCL) found the report comes at an important time to reflect on European migrant policies. “This summer, we’ve once again seen an increase in arrivals to Lesvos, resulting in the concentration of people in a highly militarized camp without access to food, information, medical care, and security – reminiscent of the notorious Moria camp. Aegean Migrant Solidarity’s publication of “Deadly End” is a timely reminder of what these policies of containment will inevitably lead to, and an important, thoughtful, and much needed archive to preserve the historical memory of all those whose lives were taken as a result of Europe’s deadly border policies,” commented coordinator of LCL, Lorraine Leete.