By: Noëllie Inard
Two weeks ago, more than 92 migrants were found naked and injured at the land border between Greece and Turkey. The United Nations refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, stated in a tweet that they were “deeply distressed by the shocking reports and images of 92 people, who were reported to have been found at the Greek-Turkish land border, stripped of their clothes.” While the Greek Minister, Takis Theodorikakos, accused the Turkish government of the instrumentalization of illegal immigration, Turkey denied having any responsibility for those recent events and blame the Greek government for the inhumane treatment of those migrants.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, a United Nations agency, more than 29,000 migrants died on their way to Europe since 2014, with an increasing number dying in the area between Greece and Turkey. Nevertheless, those who succeed and arrive in Greece alive are placed in camps with poor quality of life and inhuman conditions. As an example, the Moria camp became the shame of Europe in 2020. The Moria refugee camp, situated on the island of Lesvos, Greece, was originally intended to hold 3,000 people.
However, according to Médecins Sans Frontières, an international Non-governmental organization that had a presence there, there were 5,000 people inside the camp in 2020. Rapidly, the number of people rose and according to The Guardian, a British newspaper, around 19,000 migrants were living in the camp, with 13,000 people living in an unofficial camp around the main site, 40% of those being children and teenagers.
There was no electricity, not enough food and no water. Moreover, the camp was regularly flooded which covered the ground with mud and trash that was running through the tents.
A refugee from Syria, Ali, was interviewed by The Guardian and stated, “These conditions are not available here in Moria. Sometimes we consider that Moria is just a place for waiting for death.”
Moreover, during the pandemic, the whole camp was put under lockdown, keeping the thousands of migrants together and causing the virus to spread quickly inside the camp. However, on September 2020 the camp was burnt down, leaving the refugees homeless on the street of Greece. To quickly relocate the migrants, a temporary facility was set up as a new camp in Kara Tepe, which was later shut down in 2021 which led the migrants to be relocated again to the area of Mavrovouni.
In other places in Europe, many migrants camp are undergoing the same outrageous lack of basic human needs as the refugees. Even though the Moria camp now serves as a European example for countries to not replicate, conditions in recent refugee camps in Greece are still poor.
While an investigation is in the process to find who’s responsible for stripping and injuring the 100 migrants found at the land border between Greece and Turkey, European refugees are still subject to inhuman treatment. Even though it is unlawful for European countries to reject refugees, we can only hope for a country like Greece, which is a center point for refugees, that it will upgrade the conditions of its camps as well as its way of treating migrants.