IFIR calls for international action to end violence and overcrowding in Greece’s refugee camps
Following recent racist violence at a refugee camp in Greece, the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) calls for the governments of Greece, European Union countries, UNHCR and other international bodies to eliminate overcrowding and create secure humane conditions for refugees in camps.
On Friday 25 May radical Islamists attacked Kurdish families in Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Syrian and Iraqi Arab refugees used metal bars to severely beat Kurds for not fasting during Ramadan. A total of 72 people were injured, with 10 Syrian Kurds receiving critical injuries. Eyewitnesses claimed that the camp’s authorities did nothing to prevent the attack. Police eventually restored order and arrested three Arab suspects. However the situation remained tense and hundreds of Kurds fled the camp for their safety.
IFIR condemns this racist violence against Kurdish asylum seekers. We believe that further attacks could be prevented if international action is taken to eliminate overcrowding and improve security and living conditions in refugee camps in Greece.
For example, it is claimed that the Moria camp holds 7,000 refugees, three times its capacity. A five year old girl died of cold there in 2017. At a camp near Thessaloniki 1,850 refugees are in prefabricated homes designed for 750, with new arrivals forced to sleep in tents or the open air. These harsh conditions create stress and depression, and increase tensions between different groups. These tensions boil over into violence. The recent attack in Moria refugee camp follows the death of an Afghan migrant and large sectarian fights in 2017.
The refugees are victims of the conflicting war policy of the imperialist forces of USA, Russia and Europe with the aim of controlling the Markets and their fortunes. Furthermore, they are not admitting the terrible outcomes of their actions. They have instead made many more obstacles for the fleeing refugees forced into risking the lives of their families and children, crossing seas in an attempt to find safety.The massive and widespread military actions by extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East since 2015 have led to a surge in refugees fleeing their homes. IFIR is aware that Lesbos is the main gateway to Europe for nearly a million refugees. However we do not believe that the agreement between the European Union and Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of refugees to Europe can solve current issues – not least because refugees sent from Lesbos to Turkey live in even worse conditions. We therefore call on the governments of Greece and other European Union countries and international bodies to take reasonable steps to greatly improve living conditions for refugees living in Greece’s camps.IFIR demand Opening of the borders for the refugees who are victims of war, in order to save them from death; equal allocation of refugees across Member States in line with Member States’ responsibilities, and protection of refugees from racism and from assault by fascists.