PRO ASYL and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) protest against the closure of alternative accommodation structures on Lesvos

The camp “PIKPA” is a humanitarian counter-design to the catastrophic conditions in the new mass camp Moria 2.0. Also the municipal camp “Kara Tepe” gives shelter to the most vulnerable refugees who reach Lesvos. The Greek government now announced to shut down both camps. It is a foretaste of what the newly released “Pact on Migration and Asylum” will bring. PRO ASYL and RSA call for these last humane camps for the most vulnerable refugees on Lesbos to be defended.

On 23.09 the Greek Minister for Migration announced to close “PIKPA” on Lesvos until the end of October 2020. Already last week the announcement was made to close the regular camp “Kara Tepe” on the island at the end of December 2020. In both camps especially vulnerable people find humane accommodation with respect for their basic rights. The closures would have disastrous consequences for the current inhabitants and future vulnerable protection seekers who reach Lesvos to seek protection in the EU.

The threat of closure came on the day the EU Commission presented its “New Pact on Migration and Asylum”. Despite the experiences of the past five years, the pact foresees plans for closed camps at the EU’s external borders, e.g. on the island of Lesvos. The burnt out camp “Moria” becomes the blueprint for this policy. At the same time, plans were concretized on the new tent camp, which is set to be yet another European pilot project under the direction of a task force of the EU Commission and the Greek government. The threatened closures of PIPKA and Kara Tepe camps show that the new emergency site on Lesvos, Moria 2.0, is to be without dignified alternative – even for the most vulnerable.

Already now the situation in the new camp is catastrophic. The tent city has been built on a military shooting range area. Near the coast more than 9,400 people are exposed to the weather, in case of a storm flooding is imminent. Dozens of people are accommodated in temporary tents. The supply with water, food and medical supplies remains insufficient. The camp is unbearable, for everyone. For people with special protection needs, it presents a particular risk.

PIKPA is one of the most positive examples of how accommodation for people seeking protection can be organized. Since 2012, more than 30,000 particularly vulnerable people seeking protection, such as families with small children, victims of torture and people with disabilities have found a temporary home in the camp, which is run largely by volunteers. RSA has provided legal support to numerous vulnerable residents of PIKPA throughout time.

PRO ASYL and RSA declare their solidarity with PIKPA and support the demands of Lesvos Solidarity. We appeal to the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, President of the Commission von der Leyen and Chancellor Merkel to stand up against the closures of “PIKPA” and the old camp “Kara Tepe” and to guarantee the dignified accommodation of the residents, which cannot take place in the new mass structure.

The islands must be evacuated immediately!

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