A humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the Athens port of Piraeus, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are stranded,
the Human Rights Watch said on Thursday 24 March.
“The suffering in Piraeus is a direct consequence of Europe’s failure to respond in a legal and compassionate way to the crisis on its shores,”
said Eva Cosse, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
In the port of Piraeus there are three large camps and one small one,writes the Muslim Times. Food is provided alternately by the Red Cross, the navy, a supermarket chain, the community of Piraeus and the local football club, Olympiakos.
By the Human Rights Watch, around 5,000 men, women, and children are at the port.
There are reports of fights between Afghan and Syrian men and mounting fears of sexual harassment and violence against women and children.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) earlier this week saying the so-called hotspots where arrivals are screened and registered on the Greek islands have turned into detention centres.
- The UNHCR has since refused to transport people to the centres, noting Greece is not prepared to handle the case loads under the EU-Turkey deal.
- Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children have also pulled out.
“We took the extremely difficult decision to end our activities in Moria (on Lesbos) because continuing to work inside would make us complicit in a system we consider to be both unfair and inhumane,” said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s head of mission in Greece.
- Amnesty International accused Turkey of forcibly returning around 30 asylum seekers to Afghanistan “just hours after the European Union-Turkey refugee deal came into force”.
Aid agencies said cooperating with the Greeks at detention centres would make them complicit with an “unfair and inhumane” practice.
Two aid agencies,
- the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and
- the Norwegian Refugee Council –
said on Wednesday they were following the UN refugee agency UNHCR and aid organisation Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF)
In the same day also, another NGO, OXFAM, has pulled out of Moria detention camp, saying that ‘Humanitarian aid should be delivered in a neutral environment where refugees have freedom of movement’.
Let’s hope the stance that’s being taken by most of the NGOs that operated in Moria will bring the EU to its senses and provide the refugees with the protection to which they’re entitled.
Source: Euobserver, Information Point Volunteers Lesvos