STATES OF EXCEPTION NOT APPROPRIATE FOR GREECE

By Spyros Rizakos*

We were very sad to hear about the loss of life of an unaccompanied minor refugee in Moria, Lesvos, Reception and Identification Center .

According to the local Police, another minor who was in a state of frenzy attacked him over trivial matters and injured him fatally.

For those of us who follow refugee issues and know the conditions created in the Greek islands since 2016 due to the implementation of EU-Turkey Statement, namely the containment of refugees in deplorable conditions, such tragic incidents are- regrettably- of no surprise. The conditions of containment and crowding as well as the subsequent lack of  adequate individual approach and treatment of people who have already experienced traumatic situations, constitute a gross violation of their rights and can also lead to extreme situations. This is one of the reasons why we have opposed the implementation of EU-Turkey Statement in the first place.

The previous government -rightly- received heavy criticism over the deplorable conditions in Moria and other Reception and Identification Centers. The political party forming the current government was among those who expressed such criticism.

Moreover, the new Deputy Minister responsible for Migration Policy during the first days in office-promptly - pointed out that our country should solve the problem of adequate accommodation for unaccompanied minors in open reception centers.

However, despite the tragic event in Moria and although the situation in this Reception and Identification Center is currently out of control with over 9,000 refugees including over 600 unaccompanied minors, so far there has been no announcement from the Ministry of Citizen Protection, which has been allocated the responsibility of these Centers, as to whether there will be steps to address the problems, as it has also been called for by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

We therefore expect solutions based on national, EU and international law which safeguard the rights and dignity of refugees.

States of exception such as the situation at Reception and Identification Centers are not appropriate for our country.

*Spyros Rizakos is a lawyer and sociologist and Head of NGO Aitima.