Living conditions on the Eastern Aegean islands’ overcrowded hotspots are consistently documented as critical and incompatible with human dignity posing a serious risk for the mental and physical wellbeing of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers confined there. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted yet again the risks faced by people exposed to these conditions. Following the destruction of Moria hotspot by consecutive fires in early September, thousands of refugees including those most vulnerable were confined by police for several days in a road between Moria and Kara Tepe without basic means of subsistence. They were then transferred to a new temporary camp (the so-called ‘Moria.2’) where conditions are substandard. Meanwhile in late October, following a massive and unannounced police operation, the authorities forced the closure of PIKPA camp, one of the very few dignified accommodation alternatives for refugees on Lesvos.
RSA continues systematically to document and highlight the impact of such conditions upon refugees and asylum seekers living in hotspots and has brought before the European Court of Human Rights a number of cases requesting the immediate transfers of extremely vulnerable asylum-seekers outside Moria. In spring 2020, the Court ordered the immediate transfer of the individuals concerned out of Moria to protect them from treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR.