This 7-episode podcast, produced with the "studio son" of la Parole errante demain in the Greek islands of Kos and Leros, lends the voices of migrant people stranded on these islands, as well as of the people working or volunteering alongside them. It highlights and denounces the hotspot approach which only serves to sort, lock up and deport migrant people.
The implementation of the "hotspot approach" by the European Union (EU) in 2015, and the signing of the EU-Turkey migration agreement in 2016, have stranded up to 40,000 people in 2020 at the gates of Europe. On the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea, in unsanitary camps, these people face extremely difficult living conditions.
The Gisti organised a first observation mission in 2016 on the islands of Lesbos and Chios and observed that the hotspot approach was creating a dehumanising system where the violation of fundamental rights, starting with the right to access an international protection application, was the rule.
Three years later, a second mission by Gisti and Migreurop, carried out on the island of Samos in October 2019, confirmed that the hotspots, far from being "reception and care centres for people according to their needs", were in fact detention and sorting camps, sometimes under the open sky, set up by the European Union on its eastern maritime borders to prevent migrants from accessing the continent.
A third mission was organised by these two associations in October 2021, this time to the islands of Kos and Leros, which received little media coverage. It completed this gloomy picture, as new high-tech detention camps, financed by the European Union, were being set up on these five Greek islands.
These islands and the containment system put in place contribute to the strategy of invisibilisation and mistreatment of people on the move arriving at the EU gates.
At the time of the mission, there were few migrant people on the islands of Kos and Leros. This low presence is the consequence of three elements: the Covid-19 pandemic, which has made human mobility even more difficult; the illegal practice of pushbacks consisting of sending people back to Turkey without registering their asylum application; and finally, the transfers of most vulnerable people to the mainland. As for those who did manage to cross the sea, they were almost always immediately detained and their asylum claims mostly rejected.
Podcast : The detention camps on the Greek islands of Kos and Leros
The audio podcast of this report is online on our AudioBlog Arte radio.
_An episode will be broadcast each week from 6 February 2023.
The photo album is online on FlickR page of Gisti.
Video : These video montages combine audio, photos and subtitles in English and French and are online on Indymotion Gisti page
Épisode 1. Detention on the island of Kos
Épisode 2. Detention on the island of Leros
Alternative links : Video with French subtitles/ Video with English subtitles
You can activate the English or French subtitles by clicking on Settings at the bottom right of the video.
Épisode 3. The asylum procedure on the islands of Kos and Leros
Episode 4. The role of associations with exiled people
Épisode 5. Pushback
Alternatif links: [FR] [Video with French subtitles >https://indymotion.fr/w/wDa6G3y5Xp32gs9dgMvdp4?subtitle=fr] / [EN] Video with English subtitles
Episode 6. Leaving the island ?
Episode 7. The new detention camps
Our thanks to all the people who answered our many questions on the spot or by telephone, to those who lent their voices, and to those who spent time making this project possible. An even stronger thought to all the people on the move interviewed, those who are still there, those who had to turn back and those who managed to pass.
• More information on EU border hotspots
• Video Migreurop (Abril 2020) “Hotspots, the shameful camps" -
• Migreurop Brief #4" (October 2016) Des hotspots au coeur de l’archipel des camps"
• Equal rights beyond border (Novembre 2021) Detained and Forgotten at the Gates of the EU
• EUObserver (February 2023) Greece faces possible court over ’prison-like’ EU-funded migration centres
The musical extracts used are from two albums by Andy Moor and Yannis Kyriakides: Folia and Rebetika.