01 March 2016
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"PIKPA is an open, self-organised refugee camp in Mytilene, Lesvos. We distribute food & clothes to the port, Kara Tepe, Moria & to other refugee groups"
PRESS RELEASE: LESVOS SOLIDARITY
A few hours after the EU agreed on the barbaric measures of the EU/Turkey deal, a massive movement of refugees from the island of Lesvos towards the mainland started. The refugees received no clear information about where they were heading or about their rights. It was apparent that the government did not and does not have a plan on how shelter and health care services can be provided in the new destinations.
At the same time, the mayor of Mytilene announced to a group of representatives of Lesvos Solidarity that the space of PIKPA has to be evacuated. This means that the vulnerable cases that the camp is giving shelter to (people with long term health conditions, disabilities, single parent families, elderly etc) will have to leave immediately so that the mayor can transform the space into a children'’s camp and a sports center. After the new measures he said, there will be no need for
solidarity shelter camps.
Lesvos Solidarity has informed the Mayor, Mr Galinos that our residents cannot be moved hastily to an unknown destination unless a consistent follow up of the medical cases can be guaranteed in a camp that appropriately covers their needs. In addition, many of our residents have applied for asylum, family reunification, relocation; these processes move very slowly so our residents will have to wait for quite some time until their cases get processed.
The Municipality has promised not to leave these people on the street, but in any case the place has to be empty in order to be reused for other purposes.
At this historic moment when the EU has shown no respect towards upholding peopleÂ’s human rights, the abolition of Pikpa camp in Lesvos is strongly related with a political decision that imposes:
• The closure of open and self-organized accommodation spaces
• The complete destruction of the beach rescue and support system structures on the beach
• Attacks to autonomous structures, medical units, social kitchens and lifeguard teams.
• The abolition of the solidarity network.
The above actions have been taken to prevent peopleÂ’s fundamental human right to claim asylum; to force the detention of refugees; and to recognize Turkey as a safe country: a country which in reality creates political refugees, infringes human rights and does not give all people access to their right to claim asylum.
This new EU regime seeks to crush solidarity movements and deny people’s access to their human rights: we refuse to live in this kind of Europe.
At the same time, the Greek borders remain closed transforming the mainland of Greece into a warehouse for thousands of refugees and transforming the island into prisons, promoting mass deportations back to Turkey under NATO's watch.
Alternatives must be available to protect people from this inhumane regime:
• Resist the application of these new measures in every possible way.
• Protect and create new structures that can cover the needs of vulnerable groups.
• Create a strong network of solidarity shelter spaces.
At this time, Lesvos Solidarity collective believes that the shelter camp for vulnerable groups located at the PIKPA facilities and all the self run, self organized spaces working in Greece should stay up and running since their existence is even more important, now more than ever.
We are not willing to let our residents be dumped into inappropriate camps, lacking access to basic and humane services.
The municipality's decision to transform the space of PIKPA into a childrenÂ’s camp and sports center should include solid suggestions on where and how a new camp for vulnerable cases would take place. At the same time, we demand from the municipality to recognize the solidarity that locals have demonstrated over the past months and not to play down our struggle and hard work. The municipality should also take a stand against transforming the island into a big detention center and against returning refugees back to Turkey, a country where fundamentals human rights are absent. Furthermore, we demand that the municipality stops criminalizing solidarity structures and instead supports having open self organized solidarity shelter camps.
Pikpa Solidarity camp, which has been accused by the municipality for “illegal and irregular actions”, has been for three and a half years been a strong solidarity hub, known all around the world. We will not allow our solidarity struggle to get destroyed due to the horrific and inhumane measures that the EU has decided to apply."
Refugee crisis: Report from Are You Syrious (20.1.16) 21.3.16
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