Lesvos: Activists and refugees come together to demand action from EU leaders
As thousands of refugees trapped on Lesvos continue to face appalling conditions and uncertainty over their future, local and international activists will join refugee activists for a week of events and training from 15-23 July to demand action by the EU.
The “action camp”, organized by Amnesty International and Lesvos Solidarity, brings activists from eight European countries together with more than ten local campaigners and refugee activists and will include a stunt in Mytilini on 21 July.
“This camp aims to shine a spotlight on the dire situation facing refugees trapped on Lesvos due to the EU-Turkey Deal. The rise in the number of arrivals and the uncertainty about their future has been accompanied by risks to funding and poor reception conditions,” said Amnesty International Campaigner, Daniel Valls.
“By coming together we also demonstrate that islanders from Lesvos as well as people from across Europe are eager to welcome refugees and do not feel represented by EU governments’ inhumane policies.” said Efi Latsoudi, one of the founders of Lesvos Solidarity.
The Action Camp takes place ahead of the 31 July deadline when the majority of European emergency funding provided directly for NGOs responding on the Greek islands will come to an end. The Greek government will take over the provision of services with EU funds but no plan has been announced as to how this will be implemented. Thousands of people are stranded on Lesvos pending a decision by the highest Greek administrative court about the return of two Syrians asylum,-seekers to Turkey.
Amnesty International researchers will spend time with “Noori”, a young Syrian refugee who is currently held in detention in Moria, after spending over seven months detained in Mytilene police station in appalling conditions. Noori is at risk of becoming the first asylum-seeker formally returned from Greece, after his application was rejected on the basis that Turkey is a considered a “safe country” under the EU-Turkey deal.
In June 2017, 940 migrants and refugees arrived in Lesvos, a record for 2017. More than 400 refugees arrived in the first two weeks of July.
Workshops, presentations and discussions will take place throughout the week in Lesvos Solidarity-PIKPA camp and in Mytilini. Activities include:
– Sunday 16 July: presentations on situation in Lesvos by local actors, refugees in Moria. Evening screening of “On the Bride’s Side” in town centre.
– Monday 17 July: World Café with inspiring stories of activists and refugees at Mosaik Support Centre
– Friday 21 July: week of action culminates in a stunt on the island, time and place TBC
– Saturday 22 July: Concert at Mousiko Café