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A map of mainland refugee camps and protests prompted by living conditions

RSA begins the presentation of the poor living conditions, desperation and fear that pervade in refugee camps in mainland Greece through the documentation of protests happening there.

This is a pilot project

According to UNHCR official statistics, currently there are 64,900 refugees in Greece. [1] A significant part of this population that reaches 16,458[2] lives in 26 open temporary reception structures (camps) in the mainland. These camps are away from urban places and basic support services for refugees. People living there are mainly vulnerable refugees [3] who have been transferred from the islands’ hotspots, arrived from the land borders or have been returned from other European countries.

These camps have been established as a temporary solution [4] in 2016. Recently some of the camps that had been closed because of the dire reception conditions, reopened so that the authorities could deal with increasing need for accommodation for refugees. At the same time overcrowding, tents and very difficult conditions have become once more features of these camps. [5] It is notable that until now only three of these camps have an official legal status while reception conditions and provision of services vary from camp to camp.

Refugees living in these camps wait either for the completion of legal procedures that began on the islands (such as receiving international protection status or family reunification under the Dublin Regulation) or to be registered after their recent arrival from the land borders. Several of the residents should have been already in an integration process in the Greek society (language learning, work, education), something that happens very little in reality.

The isolation the residents of these camps experience – often under horrible conditions – have led to their ghettoization and the deterioration of their physical and mental health. Protests often break out because of the conditions as well as fights between groups sometimes lethal.

In this presentation (currently some camps in Attika region) one can see:

Basic information of each camp’s profile based on information by the Greek Ministry of Defence and UNHCR.

A timeline of protests by refugees asking form improvement of their living conditions as well as some violent incidents between residents of the camps.

Information included in Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) reports and press releases about mainland camps.

  1. UNHCR estimate for the period until 30 September 2018 regarding persons who arrived and reside in Greece after the refugee crisis of 2015-2016. (source UNHCR factsheet Greece:
  2. Source UNHCR site management support Greece, August/September:
  3. Such as families with babies and small children, persons with chronic illnesses, victims of torture, single women or unaccompanied or separate children.
  4. Following the closure of the ‘Balkan route’ and after the implementation of the EU-Turkey ‘deal’.
  5. See more in RSA report:

A timeline of protests

(for the list with the camps, click here)

  • Malakasa

    Refugees protest if front of Migration Policy Ministry in Athens demanding urban accommodation and stress that death of Syrian refugee in the camp after a fight, show the inhuman conditions and that their lives may be at risk.


  • Malakasa

    Refugees stage a sit-in in front of the Parliament in Athens, asking to be transferred to another camp.


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