In the early hours of September 9th something rather expected happened. The Moria Refugee Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was engulfed in flames, just a few hours after the announcement of the detection of 35 cases of coronavirus in the camp. The camp, which for years was a place of degradation of human dignity on the eastern border of the European Union, was almost completely destroyed. More than 13,000 people no longer have a basic roof above their heads. The Greek government, the European Commission and the governments of the EU Member States, with Germany playing a key role holding the presidency of the European Council this semester, can no longer be inactive. They all share the responsibility for this disaster and they can only hold themselves responsible that are now called to face in emergency terms a reality that was allowed to stagnate for years in Lesvos.
The undersigned organizations of Select Respect Network, who have worked both on the Greek islands and in the mainland to support the refugee populations call for immediate, twofold, action:
• Housing and care for all victims of the fire in the Moria Refugee Camp
• Particular care, including psychological support for the most vulnerable parts of the population such as unaccompanied minors.
• Move refugees and asylum seekers from Moria to safe housing conditions on the mainland
• Call for an extraordinary EU Summit with the sole goal of agreeing on a European Solution based on
- a collective response to the humanitarian crisis
- sending specialized personnel to cover medical needs
- concrete, binding commitments for the relocation of asylum seekers and refugees to all EU Member States which will prevent the creation of a new Moria.
- The continuation of financing of any refugee housing programme
• Implement the National Integration Strategy that has been left on hold for years
In these truly tough moments, it is crucial for everyone involved to stay calm and prudent to avoid at any cost the use of violence that may only aggravate the situation further.
The time is up. Moria is burnt. Europe’s values, too. Anyone making decisions over the next hours in Athens, Brussels or Berlin will have historic responsibility towards human dignity in Europe.
The Select Respect Network was created in Thessaloniki in spring of 2016 to promote the cooperation of Greek organizations active in the protection of human rights and the fight against discrimination and racism. Member organizations are united by the common belief that respect for diversity, discrimination and social exclusion of people on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religious and political beliefs concern and affect us all.
ANTIGONE www.antigone.gr – Addart www.addart.gr – Greek Council for Refugees www.gcr.gr – Heinrich Böll Stiftung- Thessaloniki Office, Greece www.gr.boell.org – Ecological Movement Thessaloniki www.ecology-salonika.org – Thessaloniki Pride www.thessalonikipride.com – UNESCO Youth Club https://unescoyouth.gr – OMNES https://www.omnes.gr/ - FIX in art https://www.facebook.com/fixinart/?ref=tn_tnmn – ARSIS https://arsis.gr – EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION https://educational-innovation.org/ ΝΑΟΜΙ Ecumenical Refugee Workshop www.naomi-thessaloniki.net