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The Day after the Closure of Stand by me Lesvos’ Academia

Last Monday just after one hundred women and children newly registered for classes in Stand by Lesvos’ Academia local authorities came and closed the place, because according to them sanitary installations are not sufficient.

It has been a sad day. We have just ended a solidarity strike we did to get this message out:

“We wish to make a statement now before the situation explodes, and both the citizens of Lesvos and the refugees living in Moria pay the price. We hope not only for your understanding but for your active support of this important measure, which goes hand in hand with concrete demands on the EU, Greek and European governments to finally find humane solutions.”

While refugees inside the notorious Moria are often forced to share one toilet with hundreds of others, authorities believe one toilet inside the campus is a problem.

And the closure affects our partners from Fenix Aid as well. They are offering much needed legal assistance for refugees.

One day later a German TV team visited the place, interviewing some of the dozens of refugees who came to learn or get legal consultancy. We translated some excerpts into English:

We are now heading to a school (Academia) and along the road we can see the cars of the people who work here. We can hence imagine the size of the school. In the white car in front, Mixalis is driving. He manages an organization that provides classes to people living in the camp.

We can see that young people are all standing outside and we can see a red and white band forbidding access. Children are not in school, but why ?

 

The journalist conducted some interviews with refugees waiting the place to open, because they didn’t hear about the closure. She talks in Farsi with an Afghan women and then explains what she learned from her:

She explains that she is completely lost and she was told that she would be deported. She is asking me what she should do. She is asking: “where shall we go and why do we have to leave the country ?”

 The journalist’s comments: That is exactly the terms of the new procedure in Greece: Since 2020, people arriving in the country receive a response within 24 days. She has already received a response and needs to leave the country.

The journalist asks her what she she came for

“We are here to get juridical support as beside the school, juridical assistance is provided here”

Later she talks with a child, who is telling her:

“My father was to be deported and  we have to stay here.”  The child does not understand ! He does not want to live here without his father. The father has received a letter informing him that he was to be deported. Hence they are here to receive juridical assistance from this NGO (Fenix). However the NGO cannot work today as the government has closed the building.

The journalist then asks the woman if she knew what to expect before coming. She replies that she did not, she fled from the war in her country to find a future here and get protection. She has no idea where to go, as she is certain that her husband will be deported. It has now been 3 months since they left their country.

These are just some stories we had to hear in front of our place during closure. Dozens of women and children came eager to learn an study and we had to send them away. No one understood how a school could be closed because of some issues with a toilet, if only few toilets are available in the nearby camp, where 20.000 people have to live.

Just recently Aziza, a girl from Afghanistan, wrote in a letter people should understand she came to Europe because she wants to get a good education here. There is very few places offering any education near Moria, Academia is one of them, but for the time being closed because of sanitary issues.

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Stand by me Lesvos
An update and statement from Just Action in Samos:*Greek version below*Follow-up statement about ZervouIn our previous statement about the new 'closed and controlled' structure in Zervou, we've already voiced out our concerns and opposition to what is currently happening on the island. Having been in the making for a long time, the new 'Multipurpose Reception and Identificaton Centre' (MPRIC) got inaugurated on Saturday and the first transfers of people to the new structure started this morning. This happens after yesterday night yet another fire broke out in the camp, showing us once again that camps are not a save place for people to live in – open or closed. Alongside most other actors on site, we refused to be part of the transportation of the people currently residing in the Vathy RIC to the new facility. We will remain active and responsive to ensure that everybody will receive food and hygiene items within the next days in a location close to the Zervou camp. Since we don't believe that the current and past 'hotspot system' – one that is focused on large-scale containment of human beings – presents an adequate solution to the European solidarity crisis, we won't operate inside the new MPRIC. After a long weekend with several protests in Vathy as well as in proximity to the new camp, we would like to take a look at this new superstructure. On the positive side, one must admit – in favor or not – that the new hotspot is by far not comparable to the shameful Vathy RIC. Here people seeking refuge will have better accommodation, running water and electricity. The old camp clearly was a representation of inhumane treatment for the displaced communities. However, the new MPRIC is very far from ideal. Being in significant distance from Vathy, the only place on the island most of the asylum seekers know but also from Mytilinioi, the closest village to the new camp, the remote location doesn’t seem to better freedom of movement or any mental health issues. This is without even considering the curfew that people will have to deal with. Even though transportation will be provided according to the authorities, one must admit that 1,60 euros for a one-way ticket is simply too much to pay for people who often have nothing. Although a seemingly low fare, when relying on a low amount of cash assistance - or none at all - this becomes unfair and disproportionally expensive. Refugees have been consciously placed in a remote, inaccessible area of the island, and with the inflated budget pumped into this MPRIC, this should not be a paid service. The new remote, fenced and highly controlled area in Zervou will only further marginalise and discriminate the displaced communities. The building of new 'hotspots' in the middle of nowhere cannot be the European answer to the 'migration problem'. The large-scale harm on the external EU-border must stop. We therefore repeat: Camps are not a safe place. Camps are no place for a dignified life. Camps are not the solution.To learn more about what happened over this weekend, visit our linktree and read the article 'Nobody Is Welcome – A New Hotspot to Keep Refugees Out of Sight, Out of Mind.'-----Στην προηγούμενη ανακοίνωσή μας σχετικά με τη νέα "κλειστή και ελεγχόμενη" δομή στη Ζερβού, έχουμε ήδη εκφράσει τις ανησυχίες και την αντίθεσή μας σε αυτό που συμβαίνει σήμερα στο νησί. Έχοντας προετοιμαστεί εδώ και πολύ καιρό, το νέο "Πολυδύναμο Κέντρο Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης" (KYT) εγκαινιάστηκε το Σάββατο και οι πρώτες μεταφορές ανθρώπων στη νέα δομή ξεκίνησαν σήμερα το πρωί. Αυτό συμβαίνει αφού χθες το βράδυ ξέσπασε άλλη μια πυρκαγιά στον καταυλισμό, δείχνοντάς μας για άλλη μια φορά ότι οι καταυλισμοί δεν είναι ένα ασφαλές μέρος για να ζουν οι άνθρωποι - ανοιχτοί ή κλειστοί. Μαζί με τους περισσότερους άλλους φορείς που βρίσκονται στο χώρο, αρνηθήκαμε να συμμετάσχουμε στη μεταφορά των ανθρώπων που διαμένουν σήμερα στο KYT Βαθύ στη νέα δομή. Θα παραμείνουμε ενεργοί και θα ανταποκριθούμε για να διασφαλίσουμε ότι όλοι θα λάβουν τρόφιμα και είδη υγιεινής εντός των επόμενων ημερών σε μια τοποθεσία κοντά στον καταυλισμό Ζερβού. Δεδομένου ότι δεν πιστεύουμε ότι το σημερινό και το προηγούμενο "σύστημα hotspot" - ένα σύστημα που επικεντρώνεται στον εγκλωβισμό ανθρώπων σε μεγάλη κλίμακα - αποτελεί επαρκή λύση για την ευρωπαϊκή κρίση αλληλεγγύης, δεν θα δραστηριοποιηθούμε εντός του νέου KYT. Μετά από ένα μακρύ Σαββατοκύριακο με αρκετές διαμαρτυρίες στο Βαθύ καθώς και κοντά στο νέο KYT, θα θέλαμε να ρίξουμε μια ματιά σε αυτή τη νέα υπερδομή. 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Αν και φαινομενικά πρόκειται για ένα χαμηλό ναύλο, όταν βασίζεται σε ένα μικρό ποσό χρηματικής βοήθειας - ή και καθόλου - αυτό γίνεται άδικο και δυσανάλογα ακριβό. Οι πρόσφυγες έχουν συνειδητά τοποθετηθεί σε μια απομακρυσμένη, δυσπρόσιτη περιοχή του νησιού και με τον φουσκωμένο προϋπολογισμό που διοχετεύεται σε αυτό το KYT, αυτό δεν θα έπρεπε να είναι μια πληρωμένη υπηρεσία. Η νέα απομακρυσμένη, περιφραγμένη και αυστηρά ελεγχόμενη περιοχή στο Ζερβού θα περιθωριοποιήσει και θα κάνει διακρίσεις στις κοινότητες των εκτοπισμένων. Η δημιουργία νέων "hotspots" στη μέση του πουθενά δεν μπορεί να είναι η ευρωπαϊκή απάντηση στο "μεταναστευτικό πρόβλημα". Η μεγάλης κλίμακας βλάβη στα εξωτερικά σύνορα της ΕΕ πρέπει να σταματήσει. Συνεπώς, επαναλαμβάνουμε: Οι καταυλισμοί δεν είναι ασφαλές μέρος. Οι καταυλισμοί δεν είναι μέρος για μια αξιοπρεπή ζωή. Οι καταυλισμοί δεν είναι η λύση.Για να μάθετε περισσότερα σχετικά με το τι συνέβη αυτό το Σαββατοκύριακο, επισκεφθείτε το linktree μας και διαβάστε το άρθρο 'Nobody Is Welcome — A New Hotspot to Keep Refugees Out of Sight, Out of Mind.'.(Photo credit: Just Action, Giorgos Christides & Nikos Drapaniotis) ... .See Less
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