A call to mobilization by Project Melting Pot and the campaign Lesvos calling.
Originally published by Melting Pot.
After the escalation in the Syrian conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Greece, in the Aegean hotspot islands and on the border with Turkey has tragically been getting worse by the hour since when, on the 27th of February, the Turkish president Erdogan has announced that he is going to send “millions of refugees” who are currently in Turkey towards Europe.
At this time, according to the International Organization for Migration, over 13,000 refugees have gathered along the 212 km long border between Greece and Turkey, that unwinds along the Evros river in north-eastern Greece.
In response to this, the right wing Greek government lead by Kyriakos Mītsotakīs has declared the state of emergency, closed the borders placing armed forces and suspended the right to apply for political asylum for a month.
In Kastanies, a small Greek village close to the border with Turkey, thousands of people are rounding up. Those who try to go through are stopped and sent back, and Greek police is using tear gas and water cannons.
The closure of Greek borders and the rejections are happening also at sea. The videos that were shared yesterday show a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard ramming and shooting a boat filled with dozens of people. Another boat approached by the Coast Guard capsized and a child drowned.
The EU has offered Erdogan an incredibly powerful way to blackmail it, making Turkey the “external policeman” with the deal of the 18th March 2016, which established a payment of 3 billion euros, which was later doubled. Turkey has basically done Europe’s dirty work, creating a barrier along its southern and eastern borders, knowing all too well that the EU wasn’t going to be capable of dealing with an influx of people inside its borders, and that this would eventually lead to devastating circumstances.
The arrivals in the Aegean islands have never stopped completely and because of the new policies on immigration carried out by the Greek government, these islands have become open-air prisons. Over 40,000 people are currently blocked there, some since 2016, living inhumanly in the hotspot centres in Lesvos, Chios and Samos. They are forced to live among the numerous practical difficulties caused by the lack of services and the hostility and violence of the population, constantly fed by the presence of far-right groups. The island of Lesvos is under siege.
Since 2016, all of Greece and its islands have become a disastrous laboratory for the EU’s experimental policies regarding migration and asylum. The EU is therefore the first responsible party for this containment and rejection “experiment” that represents the utter and systematic wreck of fundamental rights.
The ones paying the price are the men, women and children used as a mean to blackmail the EU, stopped by the tear gas the police uses in that “no-man’s land” or on boats while they fight not to drown, finally forced to live with nothing left in the mud hills of Moria.
It is time to act: we call to the mobilization under the institutional buildings of the EU and of Greece.
Many demonstrations are already being organized: our rightful indignation cannot stop at generally asking the European institutions and the EU’s member states to take responsibility.
We demand the immediate annulment of the deal with Turkey; the opening of the border between Greece and Turkey; the creation of humanitarian passage in order for the migrants to travel safely to the EU countries.
We demand the freedom of movement: the people in the Aegean islands must be immediately evacuated and brought on the continent, and they must be assigned to other countries, in exception to the Dublin regulation, where they must receive a decent welcome and the right of asylum.
We cannot stay still and wait for one more tragedy to take place, for other humans to be abandoned as if they meant nothing. We cannot accept that in the name of a “state of emergency” human rights be crushed and violence perpetrated.
Immediate evacuation from Greece and Turkey!
Humanitarian passages now!
Freedom of movement for all!
Stop to the deal EU-Turkey!
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