Coronavirus COVID-19 is excuse to keep people on Greek islands locked up

/covid-19-excuse-keep-people-greek-islan

  • Coronavirus COVID-19 is excuse to keep people on Greek islands locked up | MSF

    COVID-19-related lockdown measures have had an impact on the lives of everyone around the world and generated increasing levels of stress and anxiety for many of us. However, the restriction of movement imposed in places like Moria and Vathy, on the Greek islands, have proven to be toxic for the thousands of people contained there.

    When COVID-19 reached Greece, more than 30,000 asylum seekers and migrants were contained in the reception centres on the Greek islands in appalling conditions, without access to regular healthcare or basic services. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs mental health clinics on the islands.

    In March 2020, a restriction of movement imposed by the central government in response to COVID-19 has meant that these people, 55 per cent of whom are women and children, have essentially been forced to remain in these overcrowded and unhygienic centres with no possibility to escape the dangerous conditions which are part of their daily life.

    Despite the fact that there have been zero cases of COVID-19 in any of the reception centres on the Greek islands, and that life has returned to normal for local people and tourists alike, these discriminatory measures for asylum seekers and migrants continue to be extended every two weeks.

    Today, these men, women and children continue to be hemmed in, in dire conditions, resulting in a deterioration of their medical and mental health.

    “The tensions have increased dramatically and there is much more violence since the lockdown, and the worst part is that even children cannot escape from it anymore,” says Mohtar, the father of a patient from MSF’s mental health clinic for children. “The only thing I could do before to help my son was to take him away from Moria; for a walk or to swim in the sea, in a calm place. Now we are trapped.”

    MSF COVID-19 should not be used as a tool to detain migrants and refugees. We continue to call for the evacuation of people, especially those who belong to high-risk groups for COVID-19, from the reception centres to safe accommodation.

    Listen to Marco Sandrone, the MSF field coordinator on Lesbos, describe life for people trapped on the islands.

    MSF cannot stay silent about this blatant discrimination, as the restriction of movement imposed on asylum seekers dramatically reduces their already-limited access to basic services and medical care.

    In the current phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in Greece, this measure is absolutely unjustified from a public health point of view – it is discriminatory towards people that don’t represent a risk and contributes to their stigmatisation, while putting them further at risk.

    “The restrictions of movement for migrants and refugees in the camp have affected the mental health of my patients dramatically,” says Greg Kavarnos, a psychologist in the MSF Survivors of Torture clinic on Lesbos. “If you and I felt stressed and were easily irritated during the period of the lockdown in our homes, imagine how people who have endured very traumatic experiences feel now that they have to stay locked up in a camp like Moria.”

    “Moria is a place where they cannot find peace, they cannot find a private space and they have to stand in lines for food, for the toilet, for water, for everything,” says Kavarnos.

    COVID-19 should not be used as a tool to detain migrants and refugees. We continue to call for the evacuation of people, especially those who belong to high-risk groups for COVID-19, from the reception centres to safe accommodation. The conditions in these centres are not acceptable in normal times however, they have become even more perilous pits of violence, sickness, and misery when people are unable to move due to arbitrary restrictions.

    Up Next

    Philippines
    Displaced communities in Marawi living with COVID-19 and ongoing uncertainty

    Project Update 17 July 2020
    Displaced in Marawi living with COVID-19 and ongoing uncertainty
    COVID-19 response in Marawi

    When the number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 began to rise in March 2020, the Philippines quickly put in place strict community quarantine measures. As of July 2020, there has been no local transmission in the southern city of Marawi, showing how these measures appear to have contributed to containing the new coronavirus.

    However, they have also affected the livelihoods of the city’s residents, particularly displaced people living in and around Marawi.

    Marawi is the only city in the Philippines with a Muslim majority in an otherwise overwhelmingly Catholic country.

    Video

    Rocel Ann Junio/MSF

    “From the outset of the public health emergency, residents in Marawi observed precautionary measures very strictly, with the hope that the community quarantine would be lifted by the time Ramadan approached,” says Chika Suefuji, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) project coordinator in Marawi. “However, the community quarantine continued, and people couldn’t go to their masjid or mosque, which is one of the most important practices during Ramadan.”

    “Some people were understandably upset to learn that they had to observe Ramadan differently this year; some questioned this decision, since only a few cases of COVID-19 infections had been reported in the area,” continues Suefuji. “We discussed this with the community and religious leaders, explaining how the virus spreads. They understood well and put out a statement asking people to follow the safety measures.”

    “This approach helped to disseminate accurate information and convinced a larger number of residents to follow the measures,” says Suefuji. “Overall, people have respected social orders to protect their families and communities, and it has helped contain the virus in the community.”
    COVID-19 brought a lack of access to clean water and healthcare

    While the COVID-19 pandemic has so far not hit the area severely, it has added extra burdens on to the people of Marawi. During the community quarantine, medical consultations at health facilities were suspended. The lack of access to clean water made following the recommendations to contain the spread of the virus particularly challenging.

    Patients suffering from non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes, were especially vulnerable to the virus. MSF teams carried out home visits to ensure patients continued to receive their medication and to provide patients with a leaflet about the virus and on how to protect themselves and their families from it.
    Marawi under siege – and then in ruins

    The city of Marawi came under siege in May 2017 by a group related to Islamic State group, which tried to take control of the city, resulting in a conflict erupting between the army and the group. The siege lasted five months and forced around 370,000 people to flee their homes.

    More than three years later, parts of the city still lie in ruins. Around 70,000 people continue to live in harsh conditions in temporary shelters and another 50,000 are estimated to be living in other family members’ houses. They all have vivid memories of the siege. Thirty-four year old Ajibah Sumaleg recalls how her family had to flee their home with only a few days’ notice and returned to find it destroyed five months later.

    Around 200,000 people live in Marawi, which is located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), in the south of the Philippines. The region is currently in transition to increase its autonomy from the Philippines. It has long struggled with the weakest health and economic indicators in the country and, since the end of the siege in October 2017, there have been outbreaks of measles, dengue and polio.

    Before 2017, the political situation in the region was unstable, with regular conflicts between various armed groups. However, people there are hopeful that political changes will bring long-term stability and prosperity to the region.
    Displaced living in difficult conditions

    Initially, displaced people were provided with tents, until the evacuation centres and temporary shelters had been built. The last families moved from tents to the shelters only in January 2020.

    Sobaida Comadug, 60, recalls how her husband died of a heart attack when the city was besieged. According to her, the shelters are not much better than the tents.

    “We were told that these would be built to last for five years,” says Sobaida. “Do you think the government will build a longer-lasting shelter? No!”

    Video

    Rocel Ann Junio/MSF

    She has spent all her life in Marawi. She describes the daily challenges which displaced people face.

    Water is lacking, and the temporary shelters are far from the markets. Food is costly. All these factors push people to eat ready-to-eat meals, while doctors recommend healthy food to complement treatment for non-communicable diseases.

    “It is more difficult to cook healthy meals,” says Sobaida. “We are far from the fruit and vegetable vendors, and even if we could reach them, we don’t have clean water to wash them.”

    The limited access to clean water creates hardships.

    “The living conditions of the people are concerning. The water trucking saves lives, but is only a temporary measure as opposed to a long-term solution,” says Chika Suefuji. “I hope that the plight of internally displaced people in Marawi and Lanao del Sur becomes known and that leads to a better future for the people.”
    MSF improves difficult access to healthcare

    During the community quarantine in April and May, families faced tough decisions since most people were not able to work. People had to decide whether to use their money for the family’s food, or healthcare for a sick family member.

    Even before the community quarantine, healthcare was difficult to obtain following the siege. Only 15 of the 39 health facilities in Marawi and the surrounding areas were functioning; the others had been destroyed or were unable to reopen. MSF rehabilitated four health centres after the siege to support communities in Marawi, and began providing clean drinking water and mental health services.

    Non-communicable diseases were responsible for 41.5 per cent of deaths in the BARMM region in 2015. Hypertension and diabetes are among the 10 most prevalent diseases.

    We currently support three health centres in the area, provide mental healthcare, treat non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, and provide free medication.
    A long road back to normal
    34-year-old Ajibah Sumaleg, pregnant with her eighth child, has her high blood pressure checked during a check-up with an MSF doctor at our clinic in Marawi. The Philippines, January 2020.

    Veejay Villafranca

    “It is critical for the people of Marawi, especially patients suffering from non-communicable diseases, that the spread of COVID-19 remains in check,” says Janoa Manganar, MSF medical team leader.

    In the Philippines, surveillance and contact tracing activities for COVID-19 are also conducted at the community level. We have started to train teams in all 72 districts within Marawi city in how to conduct surveillance and contact tracing, and how to share information related to COVID-19 prevention, home quarantine and mental health together with the local health authority.

    People living in Marawi face an uncertain future. The rehabilitation of the area in central Marawi that was destroyed during the siege continues to be a challenge because of the presence of the remnants of war, such as unexploded ordnance, among several other reasons.
    Many still hope that political changes will bring positive change to their futures; however, the reality is that, almost after three years after the end of the siege, many people are still displaced from their homes, living in temporary shelters or in the homes of relatives, not knowing how long this will last.

    The siege and the pandemic added to the worries of people in Marawi, says Sarah Oranggaga. She was forced to move in with her siblings again after having to give up her small corner store in Marawi. She says, “I am okay for now, and we just accept how things are and slowly we’ll overcome this.”

    Up Next

    Belgium
    Left behind in the time of COVID-19

    Report 17 July 2020
    Left behind coronavirus Belgium care homes report
    MSF Mobile Team in retiry home in Brussels

    In our report, Left behind in the time of COVID-19, MSF gives a detailed account of our intervention in nursing care homes in Belgium during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, describing the situation a real humanitarian crisis. The report contains a list of concrete recommendation to avoid the repetition of this drama if a second wave of the new coronavirus hits the country.

    “If we want to be better prepared for a second wave, we need to learn lessons from the past months,” says Dr Bertrand Draguez, President of MSF Belgium and coordinator of the intervention.

    There was a real fear that hospitals would be overwhelmed, as had happened in Italy and Spain, and therefore Belgian authorities focused solely on preserving hospital capacity. As a result, nursing care homes were neglected. They suffered from a lack of protective equipment, material, staff and expertise to fight the pandemic. Consequently, care homes paid a high price: by the end of June, 6,200 care home residents had died of COVID-19, which is 64 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Belgium.

    “At the time we did our assessments in care homes, only 54% of them had sufficient personal protective equipment; 64% had a lack of FFP2-masks, and only 42% of the staff doing the laundry had access to proper protective equipment”, said Stéphanie Goublomme, who managed the care home project.

    More than half of the care homes said their staff didn’t have sufficient knowledge about the disease and the risk of infection.

    The possibility to refer patients from care homes to external medical services, most notably hospitals, decreased significantly. Before the crisis, 86% of care home residents who needed a hospital referral were admitted, but this dropped to 57% during the pandemic.

    “Almost a third - 30% - of the care homes we visited told us not even all their emergency calls got an adequate answer,” said Goublomme. “The number of visits by general practitioners to care homes decreased 50%. That’s worrying, because it had a clear impact of the quality of care for the residents.”

    Nursing care home staff were overwhelmed and had to work in extreme conditions, which led to an increase of mental health problems and the appearance of post-traumatic stress symptoms. This was observed in staff as well as residents.

    “There’s no time to lose. We need to tackle the specific problems of care homes in a fast, practical, and effective way, both for the staff and for the residents. This is the only way to avoid that our elderly will again have to pay the price for our indifference,” said Dr Bertrand Draguez.

    #migration #coronavirus #mental_health #Greece #islands #lockdown #MSF

    https://www.msf.org/covid-19-excuse-keep-people-greek-islands-locked

  • Grèce : nouvelle extension du confinement dans les #camps de demandeurs d’asile

    En Grèce, les autorités ont à nouveau prolongé le confinement des principaux camps de demandeurs d’asile pour 15 jours supplémentaires, soit jusqu’au 21 juin. C’est la troisième fois que ce confinement est prolongé depuis le mois de mai, officiellement en raison de la lutte contre la pandémie de coronavirus. Un virus qui a pourtant relativement épargné le pays, où moins de 200 victimes ont été recensées depuis le début de la crise sanitaire.

    C’est début mai que le confinement de la population grecque a été levé. Depuis, celui-ci se poursuit pourtant dans les centres dits « d’accueil et d’identification » de demandeurs d’asile. Des camps où s’entassent au total près de 35 000 personnes et qui se situent sur cinq îles de la mer Égée - à l’image de #Moria sur l’île de #Lesbos - ou à la frontière terrestre avec la Turquie, comme le centre de l’#Evros.

    Officiellement, il s’agit pour les autorités grecques de lutter contre la propagation du coronavirus. Or, parmi l’ensemble des demandeurs d’asile, seuls quelques dizaines de cas ont été signalés à travers le pays et aucune victime n’a été recensée.

    Avant la crise sanitaire, la tension était vive en revanche sur plusieurs îles qui abritent des camps, en particulier à Lesbos fin février et début mars. Une partie de la population locale exprimait alors son ras-le-bol, parfois avec violence, face à cette cohabitation forcée.

    Athènes a d’ailleurs l’intention de mettre prochainement en place de premiers centres fermés ou semi-fermés. Notamment sur l’île de Samos et à Malakassa, au nord de la capitale. La prolongation répétée du confinement pour plusieurs dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile semble ainsi s’inscrire dans une logique parallèle.

    http://www.rfi.fr/fr/europe/20200607-gr%C3%A8ce-nouvelle-extension-confinement-les-camps

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #extension #prolongation #confinement #coronavirus #covid-19 #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés

    ping @luciebacon @karine4 @isskein

    • Νέα παράταση εγκλεισμού στα ΚΥΤ των νησιών με πρόσχημα τον κορονοϊό

      Αν δεν υπήρχε ο κορονοϊός, η κυβέρνηση θα έπρεπε να τον είχε εφεύρει για να μπορέσει να περάσει ευκολότερα την ακροδεξιά της ατζέντα στο προσφυγικό.

      Από την αρχή της εκδήλωσης της πανδημίας του κορονοϊού η κυβέρνηση αντιμετώπισε την πανδημία όχι σαν κάτι από το οποίο έπρεπε να προστατέψει τους πρόσφυγες και τους μετανάστες που ζουν στις δομές, αλλά αντιθέτως σαν άλλη μια ευκαιρία για να τους στοχοποιήσει σαν υποτιθέμενη υγειονομική απειλή. Εξού και δεν πήρε ουσιαστικά μέτρα πρόληψης και προστασίας των δομών, αγνοώντας επιδεικτικά τις επείγουσες συστάσεις ελληνικών, διεθνών και ευρωπαϊκών φορέων.

      Δεν προχώρησε ούτε στην άμεση εκκένωση των Κέντρων Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης από τους περισσότερους από 2.000 πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες που είναι ιδιαίτερα ευπαθείς στον κορονοϊό - άνθρωποι ηλικιωμένοι ή με χρόνια σοβαρά προβλήματα υγείας. Αντιθέτως, ανέβαλε στην πράξη με προσχηματικές αοριστολογίες ή και σιωπηρά για τουλάχιστον δύο μήνες τη σχετική συμφωνία που είχε κάνει το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου με την κυρία Γιόχανσον στις αρχές Απριλίου.

      Με άλλα λόγια, αν δεν υπήρχε ο κορονοϊός, η κυβέρνηση θα έπρεπε να τον είχε εφεύρει για να μπορέσει να περάσει ευκολότερα την ακροδεξιά της ατζέντα στο προσφυγικό. Στην πραγματικότητα, αυτό ακριβώς κάνει ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου : χρησιμοποιεί την πανδημία του κορονοϊού για να παρατείνει ξανά και ξανά την καραντίνα σε δομές. Ιδίως στα Κέντρα Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης στα νησιά, όπου εξελίχθηκαν σε φιάσκο οι άτσαλες και βιαστικές απόπειρες του υπουργού Νότη Μητασράκη και του υπουργού Προστασίας του Πολίτη Μιχάλη Χρυσοχοΐδη να επιβάλουν με επιτάξεις, απευθείας αναθέσεις και άγρια καταστολή έργα πολλών δεκάδων εκατομμυρίων ευρώ για τη δημιουργία νέων Κέντρων Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης, πολλαπλάσιας χωρητικότητας από ατυτή των σημερινών.

      Η επιβολή καραντίνας στα ΚΥΤ στα νησιά ξεκίνησε στις 24 Μαρτίου, αρκετά πριν την επιβολή καραντίνας στο γενικό πληθυσμό, και από τότε ανανεώνεται συνεχώς. Το Σάββατο 20 Ιουνίου οι υπουργοί Μηταράκης και Χρυσοχοΐδης έδωσαν άλλη μια παράταση υγειονομικού αποκλεισμού των ΚΥΤ μέχρι τις 5 Ιουλίου, οπότε και θα συμπληρωθούν 3,5 μήνες συνεχούς καραντίνας. Τουλάχιστον για τα μάτια των ξενοφοβικών, καθώς στην πράξη οι αρχές αδυνατούν να επιβάλουν καραντίνα σε δομές που εξαπλώνονται σε μεγάλη έκταση έξω από τους οριοθετημένους χώρους των ΚΥΤ.

      Οι υπουργοί ανακοίνωσαν επίσης παράταση της καραντίνας στις δομές της Μαλακάσας, της Ριτσώνας και του Κουτσόχερου, όπου είχαν εμφανιστεί κρούσματα πριν από πολλές εβδομάδες, και έκτοτε δεν υπάρχει ενημέρωση για νέα κρούσματα μέσα στις δομές, παρόλο που έχει παρέλθει προ πολλού το προβλεπόμενο χρονικό όριο της καραντίνας.

      Πρόκειται για σκανδαλωδώς προκλητική διαχείριση, επικοινωνιακή και μόνο, τόσο του προσφυγικού και μεταναστευτικού όσο και του ζητήματος του κορονοϊού.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/node/248622

      #hotspot #hotpspots

      –—

      Avec ce commentaire de Vicky Skoumbi, reçu le 21.06.2020 via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      Sous des prétexte fallacieux, le gouvernement prolonge une énième fois les mesures de restriction de mouvement pour les résidents de hotspots dans les #îles et pour trois structures d’accueil au continent, #Malakasa, #Ritsona et #Koutsohero. Le 5 juillet, date jusqu’à laquelle court cette nouvelle #prolongation, les réfugiés dans les camps auront passés trois mois et demi sous #quarantaine. Je rappelle que depuis au moins un mois la population grecque a retrouvé une entière liberté de mouvement. Il est fort à parier que de prolongation en prolongation tout le reste de l’été se passera comme cela, jusqu’à la création de nouveaux centres fermés dans les îles. Cette éternisation de la quarantaine -soi-disant pour des raisons sanitaires qu’aucune donné réel ne justifie, transforme de fait les hotspots en #centres_fermés anticipant ainsi le projet du gouvernement.

      #stratégie_du_choc

    • Pro-migrant protests in Athens as Greece extends lockdown

      Following protests in Athens slamming the government for its treatment of migrants, the Greek government over the weekend said it would extend the COVID-19 lockdown on the migrant camps on Greek Aegean islands and on the mainland.

      Greece has extended a coronavirus lockdown on its migrant camps for a further two weeks. On Saturday, Greece announced extension of the coronavirus lockdown on its overcrowded and unsanitary migrant camps on its islands in the Aegean Sea for another fortnight.

      The move came hours after some 2,000 people protested in central Athens on Saturday to mark World Refugee Day and denounced the government’s treatment of migrants.

      The migration ministry said migrants living in island camps as well as those in mainland Greece will remain under lockdown until July 5. It was due to have ended on Monday, June 22, along with the easing of general community restrictions as the country has been preparing to welcome tourists for the summer.

      The Greek government first introduced strict confinement measures in migrant camps on March 21. A more general lockdown was imposed on March 23; it has since been extended a number of times. No known coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Greek migrant camps so far and only a few dozen infections have surfaced. Rights groups have expressed concern that migrants’ rights have been eroded by the restrictions.

      On May 18, the Greek asylum service resumed receiving asylum applications after an 11-week pause. Residence permits held by refugees will be extended six months from their date of expiration to prevent the service from becoming overwhelmed by renewal applications.

      ’No refugee homeless, persecuted, jailed’

      During the Saturday protests, members of anti-racist groups, joined by residents from migrant camps, marched in central Athens. They were holding banners proclaiming “No refugee homeless, persecuted, jailed” and chanting slogans against evictions of refugees from temporary accommodation in apartments.

      More than 11,000 refugees who have been living in reception facilities for asylum seekers could soon be evicted. Refugees used to be able to keep their accommodation for up to six months after receiving protected status.

      But the transitional grace period was recently reduced significantly: Since March of this year, people can no longer stay in the reception system for six months after they were officially recognized as refugees — they only have 30 days.

      Refugee advocacy groups and UNHCR have expressed concern that the people evicted could end up homeless. “Forcing people to leave their accommodation without a safety net and measures to ensure their self-reliance may push many into poverty and homelessness,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said last week.

      The government insists that it is doing everything necessary “to assure a smooth transition for those who leave their lodgings.”

      Moreover, UNHCR and several NGOs and human rights groups have spoken out to criticize the Greek government’s decision to cut spending on a housing program for asylum seekers by up to 30%. They said that it means less safe places to live for vulnerable groups.

      Asylum office laments burden, defends action

      In a message for World Refugee Day, the Ministry for Migration and Asylum said Greece has found itself “at the centre of the migration crisis bearing a disproportionate burden”, news agency AFP cites.

      “The country is safeguarding the rights of those who are really persecuted and operates as a shield of solidarity in the eastern Mediterranean,” it added.

      Government officials have repeatedly said Greece must become a less attractive destination for asylum seekers.

      The continued presence of more than 36,000 refugees and asylum seekers on the islands — over five times the intended capacity of shelters there — has caused major friction with local communities who are demanding their immediate removal.

      An operation in February to build detention centers for migrants on the islands of Lesbos and Chios had to be abandoned due to violent protests.

      Accusations of push-backs

      Greece has also been repeatedly accused of illegal pushbacks by its forces at its land and sea borders, which according to reports have spiked since March.

      On land, a Balkans-based network of human rights organizations said migrants reported beatings and violent collective expulsions from inland detention spaces to Turkey on boats across the Evros River. In the Aegean, a recent investigation by three media outlets claims that Greek coast guard officers intercept migrant boats coming from Turkey and send them back to Turkey in unseaworthy life rafts.

      Athens has repeatedly denied using illegal tactics to guard its borders, and has in turn accused Turkey of sending patrol boats to escort migrant boats into its waters.

      According to UNHCR, around 3,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece by land and sea since the start of March, far fewer people than over previous months. Some 36,450 refugees and asylum seekers are currently staying on the Aegean islands.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/25521/pro-migrant-protests-in-athens-as-greece-extends-lockdown

      #résistance

    • Greek government must end lockdown for locked up people on Greek islands

      COVID-19-related lockdown measures have had an impact on the lives of everyone around the world and generated increasing levels of stress and anxiety for many of us. However, the restriction of movement imposed in places like Moria and Vathy, on the Greek islands, have proven to be toxic for the thousands of people contained there.

      When COVID-19 reached Greece, more than 30,000 asylum seekers and migrants were contained in the reception centres on the Greek islands in appalling conditions, without access to regular healthcare or basic services. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs mental health clinics on the islands.

      In March 2020, a restriction of movement imposed by the central government in response to COVID-19 has meant that these people, 55 per cent of whom are women and children, have essentially been forced to remain in these overcrowded and unhygienic centres with no possibility to escape the dangerous conditions which are part of their daily life.

      Despite the fact that there have been zero cases of COVID-19 in any of the reception centres on the Greek islands, and that life has returned to normal for local people and tourists alike, these discriminatory measures for asylum seekers and migrants continue to be extended every two weeks.

      Today, these men, women and children continue to be hemmed in, in dire conditions, resulting in a deterioration of their medical and mental health.

      “The tensions have increased dramatically and there is much more violence since the lockdown, and the worst part is that even children cannot escape from it anymore,” says Mohtar, the father of a patient from MSF’s mental health clinic for children. “The only thing I could do before to help my son was to take him away from Moria; for a walk or to swim in the sea, in a calm place. Now we are trapped.”

      MSF cannot stay silent about this blatant discrimination, as the restriction of movement imposed on asylum seekers dramatically reduces their already-limited access to basic services and medical care.

      In the current phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in Greece, this measure is absolutely unjustified from a public health point of view – it is discriminatory towards people that don’t represent a risk and contributes to their stigmatisation, while putting them further at risk.

      “The restrictions of movement for migrants and refugees in the camp have affected the mental health of my patients dramatically,” says Greg Kavarnos, a psychologist in the MSF Survivors of Torture clinic on Lesbos. “If you and I felt stressed and were easily irritated during the period of the lockdown in our homes, imagine how people who have endured very traumatic experiences feel now that they have to stay locked up in a camp like Moria.”

      “Moria is a place where they cannot find peace, they cannot find a private space and they have to stand in lines for food, for the toilet, for water, for everything,” says Kavarnos.

      COVID-19 should not be used as a tool to detain migrants and refugees. We continue to call for the evacuation of people, especially those who belong to high-risk groups for COVID-19, from the reception centres to safe accommodation. The conditions in these centres are not acceptable in normal times however, they have become even more perilous pits of violence, sickness, and misery when people are unable to move due to arbitrary restrictions.

      https://www.msf.org/covid-19-excuse-keep-people-greek-islands-locked

    • La Grèce prolonge à nouveau le confinement dans les camps de migrants

      Athènes a annoncé vendredi une prolongation jusqu’à la fin du mois d’août du confinement dans les camps de migrants installés sur ses îles et le continent. Le pays connaît une hausse du nombre d’infections mais aucun décès n’a encore été enregistré dans les camps de migrants.

      Les camps de migrants de Grèce resteront confinés au moins jusqu’à la fin du mois d’août. Vendredi 31 juillet, le ministère des Migrations a déclaré que le confinement – entré en vigueur le 21 mars – sera prolongé jusqu’au 31 août "pour prévenir l’apparition et la diffusion des cas de coronavirus". Il s’agit de la 6e prolongation du confinement des camps de migrants, alors que la population grecque, elle, est sortie du confinement le 4 mai dernier.

      La Grèce, avec 203 décès dus au Covid-19, n’a pas été aussi sévèrement touchée que d’autres pays européens et aucun décès n’a été enregistré dans les camps de migrants.

      Mais ces derniers sont surpeuplés, en mer Egée particulièrement. Plus de 26 000 demandeurs d’asile y vivent, pour une d’une capacité d’accueil de moins de 6 100 places. Une situation qui génère de plus en plus de tensions avec la population locale.

      Néanmoins, la prolongation du confinement des seuls camps de migrants ne constitue pas moins une discrimination manifeste des droits des personnes migrantes, ont dénoncé de nombreuses ONG dans un communiqué publié le 17 juillet.

      “Nous sommes de plus en plus inquiets car les températures montent, nous sommes au milieu de l’été, et les migrants sont obligés de vivre dans des espaces saturés avec trop peu d’accès à l’hygiène, l’eau manque ainsi que les produits sanitaires dans la plupart des camps. Il y a un donc un risque que ces prolongement indéterminés provoquent d’importants problèmes sanitaires au sein des camps puisque les gens ne peuvent même plus sortir pour se faire soigner ou acheter des médicaments et des produits de première nécessité”, a indiqué à InfoMigrants Adriana Tidona, chercheuse spécialiste des questions migratoires en Europe pour Amnesty International.
      Augmentation du nombre de cas

      Si les autorités grecques veulent que les migrants restent dans des camps, elles invitent les touristes à venir dans le pays. Les aéroports grecs et les frontières ont ainsi été rouverts aux touristes étrangers. Or, ces mesures se sont accompagnées d’une augmentation du nombre de cas de Covid-19 dans le pays.

      Depuis le 1er juillet, plus de 340 cas confirmés ont été enregistrés parmi les près de 1,3 million de voyageurs entrant en Grèce, a indiqué mardi la protection civile

      Mardi, la Grèce a annoncé qu’elle rendait le masque obligatoire dans les magasins, les banques, les services publics et la quasi-totalité des lieux clos, en réponse à une résurgence des infections.


      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26383/la-grece-prolonge-a-nouveau-le-confinement-dans-les-camps-de-migrants

    • Grèce : prolongation du confinement dans les camps de migrants

      Plus de 24.000 demandeurs d’asile sont logés dans des camps insalubres, d’une capacité d’accueil de moins de 6100 places.

      La Grèce a annoncé vendredi 28 août une prolongation jusqu’au 15 septembre du confinement imposé aux migrants dans les camps aux portes d’entrée de l’Europe, sur les îles et à la frontière terrestre du pays, qui connaît une résurgence des cas de coronavirus. Le confinement des camps, entré en vigueur le 21 mars, sera prolongé jusqu’au 15 septembre « pour empêcher l’apparition et la propagation des cas de coronavirus », a déclaré le ministère des Migrations.

      La présence de plus de 24.000 demandeurs d’asile dans des camps insalubres, d’une capacité d’accueil de moins de 6100 places, situés sur les cinq îles de la mer Égée, est une source d’inquiétude pour les autorités.

      Mais les ONG ont plusieurs fois dénoncé l’enfermement des demandeurs d’asile dans ces structures qui ne sont pas adaptées pour mettre en place les mesures barrières nécessaires. Les nouveaux arrivants sur les îles grecques sont par ailleurs placés en quarantaine dans des structures séparées pour ne pas prendre le risque de contaminer tout le camp. Alors que les arrivées s’étaient taries pendant le confinement, elles ont repris légèrement pendant l’été.

      Dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi, les gardes-côtes grecs ont entrepris une opération de sauvetage d’un voilier au large de l’île de Rhodes avec à bord 55 migrants. Mercredi, la police portuaire avait déjà effectué une opération similaire au large de l’île de Halki et avait secouru 96 personnes. Pour la troisième journée consécutive, des recherches se poursuivent pour retrouver un homme de 35 ans et son fils de 4 ans, portés disparus depuis le naufrage selon la mère de l’enfant. La Grèce, avec 254 décès dus au Covid-19, n’a pas été aussi sévèrement touchée que d’autres pays européens, et aucun décès n’a été enregistré dans les camps de migrants.

      https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/grece-prolongation-du-confinement-dans-les-camps-de-migrants-1-20200828

    • More camps locked down

      Migrant reception centers in #Thiva, central Greece, and Serres, in the country’s north, have been put on lockdown following outbreaks of the coronavirus.

      The lockdowns were announced on Saturday in a joint decision by the ministries of Migration, Citizens’ Protection and Health and are to remain in force until October 9 when they will be reviewed.

      Migrant facilities in Elaionas, Malakasa, Oinofyta, Ritsona, Schistos, Koutsohero and Fylakio, on the mainland, and on the islands of Samos and Leros are also under lockdown following outbreaks there.

      On Lesvos, following the destruction of the Moria camp in fires earlier this month, migrants have been transferred to a temporary facility where Covid-19 infected residents have been segregated.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/257425/article/ekathimerini/news/more-camps-locked-down