1 year after Moria’s fire.
Exactly one year ago, a fire destroyed the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
On that occasion, the Greek and European authorities had promised that reception conditions would be improved. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said there should be no more Morias.
Yet, instead of building alternatives to the camps, the EU and Greece have hardened their approach, pursuing policies focused on containing the number of asylum seekers and refugees, effectively reinforcing the approach already in place.
A few months after the fire in September 2020, Greek and EU officials agreed to build Multi-Purpose Reception and Identification Centres (MPRICs) on five Aegean islands. With financial and technical support from the European Commission, authorities in Greece are currently constructing fences and concrete walls around dozens of existing camps, building closed camps in remote locations on the Aegean islands, and introducing legislation to further restrict the freedom of movement from and access to camps.
INTERSOS and INTERSOS Hellas together with 45 NGOs and civil society groups, published a report questioning how and why EU funds are being used to restrict the freedom of movement of people seeking asylum and urging Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to investigate the current construction process and intervene to protect the rights and liberties of people seeking asylum in Greece.
INTERSOS intervened in Lesvos with an emergency response in the immediate hours after the fire, distributing basic necessities to more than 4,000 women and children. In February 2021, INTERSOS established a psychosocial support and mental health program targeting women survivors of gender-based violence. To date, more than 140 women have accessed the service.