Call for the immediate evacuation of Moria

In support for exiles living on the island of Lesbos, Migreurop is a signatory of a Tribune initiated by European personalities published in Libération’s newspaper of 11 September 2020.

At a time when 12,500 refugees and asylum seekers are wandering homeless on the roads and hills of Lesbos, when those suffering from smoke inhalation and burns from the fire in Moria are prevented by the police from reaching the hospital in Mytilene, when solidarity groups bringing basic necessities are blocked by the authorities or attacked by far-right groups, when the Greek government‘s only response to this emergency is an assertion of national- security, we, as European citizens and citizens of the world, can no longer remain silent.

The fire that ravaged the Moria refugee camp cannot be considered either an accident or the result of a desperate action on the part of those living at the camp. It is the inevitable and foreseeable result of European policy that confines tens of thousands of refugees in inhuman conditions on these Greek islands. It is the result of the strategy of the Greek government which, instead of taking effective measures against the spread of Covid-19 in "hotspots", has for the past six months imposed extremely harsh limits on the movement of the camp’s inhabitants. In addition to this prolonged confinement, a total lock-down whose effects on the health of those in the camp is more than problematic, was imposed a week ago, while people who tested positive for the virus were ordered to remain locked up in a shed 24 hours a day. Such dreadful conditions led straight to disaster.

This intolerable situation, which is a disgrace to Europe, cannot be allowed to continue for even one more day.

The immediate evacuation of Moria and the transfer of its inhabitants to the various European cities ready to welcome them is a matter of extreme urgency. The same goes for all the other camps in the Greek islands and on the continent. It is worth recalling here that the Greek government has already begun work to transform not only hot-spots but every reception center on the mainland into closed facilities surrounded by double fencing and equipped with security gates. What would have happened if the fire in Moria had occurred in a camp surrounded by a double set of barbed wire with blocked exits? How many thousands of deaths would we be mourning today?

Let us not leave tens of thousands of people whose only crime is to have asked for international protection, at the mercy of a policy concerned only with security, which threatens their safety and even their lives. The Greek government, in the name of the defense of European borders and national security, not only considers itself authorized to violate international law with systematic push-backs in the Aegean Sea and on the border of Evros, but also by prohibiting any transfer of the victims of the Moria fire to the continent. For, apart from the transfer of 406 unaccompanied minors to northern Greece, the Mitsotakis government intends to ‚punish‘ camp residents for the fire by preventing them from leaving Lesbos! The Greek government and local authorities are creating a war zone in Lesbos, in the middle of Europe. And the only target of this war are the refugees. 12,500 persons are currently in danger, deprived of all access to sanitary facilities and exposed to attacks by extreme-right groups.

We will not tolerate a situation in which asylum seekers are deprived of all rights, and reduced to the status of non-persons. Let us join together to demand from the European authorities and our governments the immediate evacuation of Moria and all other camps in Greece, as well as the urgent transfer of their residents to the European cities and towns that have requested it.

NOW and not tomorrow.

The dignity and lives of tens of thousands of people are at stake, but also the dignity of every one of us.

Against the policies of exclusion and criminalization of refugees, it is extremely urgent to build "one" world, common to all. Otherwise, we all risk, at any moment, finding ourselves on the wrong side of the border.


TRANSFERT of all its inhabitants who express their desire to the European cities ready to welcome them!

Click here to sign this call and see the list of signatories.