GREECE: Idomeni evacuation: process denounced, consequences and next steps

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Major NGOs and numerous independent voices have criticised the clearance of the Idomeni camp in northern Greece, whilst others have highlighted the consequences of the decision and the Greek government makes plans to clear the Elliniko camp in Athens next.

Greek police finish clearing Idomeni refugee camp (France 24, link): "The squalid Idomeni refugee camp in northern Greece which became a symbol of Europe's migrant crisis has been fully evacuated, police said Thursday, as another 30 died crossing the Mediterranean.

In the space of three days, police transferred about 4,000 migrants by bus from Idomeni to newly created camps in the industrial outskirts of Greece's second city Thessaloniki.

"We're done. No more people remain, just tents with supplies belonging to aid groups," a police source told AFP."

However, other reports suggest that many "aid groups" had their equipment and belongings destroyed by the bulldozers and that the new camps to which people have been moved lack the most basic facilities: see here and here.

These points have been taken up by a number of major NGOs who were working in Idomeni. For example:

Greece: MSF denounces forced movement of thousands of Idomeni refugees (MSF, link): "As the eviction of residents from Idomeni camp continues, Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) denounces the forced movement of thousands of refugees, the lack of information provided about their destinations and the restrictions imposed on humanitarian assistance during this process."

Child refugees moved from Idomeni lack food, water and adequate shelter in new camps - charity warns conditions are inhumane (Save the Children, link): "Save the Children today expressed serious concerns for refugee children and families who were relocated yesterday from Idomeni camp to new sites in northern Greece where many lack adequate basic services including food, water and accommodation.

“When families arrived in the new camps yesterday, many with babies and young children, they were faced with deplorable conditions. There was very little food and water and just four incredibly dirty toilets for almost 200 people, ” said Amy Frost, Save the Children’s Team Leader in Greece."

Refugees in Greece need access to asylum process as quickly as possible (Oxfam, link): "“Families constantly tell us that they are given little, if any, information about what is happening when they are moved on. This adds further to their despair and desperation. People must be given full access to information and services, including general health and mental health support."

A report published by openDemocracy argues that the "resilience and human spirit" of the occupants of Idomeni "deserves to be remembered". See: Entrepreneurs of Idomeni (openDemocracy, link)

The next step will be the clearance of the Elliniko camp in Athens, according to the Greek immigration minister:

"According to Immigration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, the camp at Elliniko in Athens will be next.

“Conditions at Elliniko are not unsuitable, but they are not good and certainly not the conditions we should have for refugees and migrants,” he told Parliament, adding that clearing the camp “is a priority.”

“Elliniko will be shut down. I can’t tell you when. But it is our next move to evacuate Elliniko,” Mouzalas said."

See: Elliniko refugee camp next, after Idomeni is evacuated (Ekathimerini, link)

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