Migrants: Greek hotspots in crisis at EU's borders - MSF

Europe must 'completely change its approach to migration'

10 June, 12:43

    Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has published a report titled "Constructing Crisis at Europe's Borders" that "once again calls on European Union leaders to completely change their approach to migration", said MSF in a statement.

    It said the EU should end "containment and deterrence policies, which are causing avoidable harm to the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants".

    "For more than five years, the EU policy of containing people and processing their asylum applications in hotspots on the Greek islands has created an unprecedented crisis and tremendous human suffering. These are not unintended consequences," said Reem Mussa, MSF humanitarian advisor on migration.

    "The EU's hotspot model is designed not only to process migrants' asylum applications, but also to deter others who dare to seek safety in Europe." MSF said the report shows how the EU's migratory policies put at risk the health and safety of people trapped on the Greek islands.

    Men, women and children survivors of violence and difficulties are stuck in terrifying conditions.

    More than 180,000 migrants have passed through the Greek islands since the signing of the EU-Turkey migrant accord in March 2016.

    A total of 847 died while trying to reach Greece, while 21 died in the hotspots.

    There have been a total of 12 fires in the hotspot centres.

    MSF said that during 2019 and 2020, its mental health clinics on Chios, Lesbos and Samos islands in Greece treated 1,369 patients, many of whom suffered from severe mental health conditions.

    More than 180 people treated by MSF had self-harmed, or attempted suicide.

    Two-thirds of them were children.

    "Despite claiming to change for the better, the EU and the Greek government are spending millions of euros to standardise and intensify policies that have already done so much harm," said Iorgos Karagiannis, MSF head of mission in Greece.

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