May 18, 2016

Two months after the signing of the EU-Turkey deal, the situation for migrants in detention centres on the Greek islands continues to deteriorate. MSF criticises the appalling nature of these detentions and calls for the immediate opening of hotspot centres.

Since 20 March, refugees landing on the Greek islands are locked up in detention centres. Among them are women, young children and dozens of unaccompanied minors for whom no specific protection measures have been put in place.

Administrative detention is fixed at 25 days in these hotspots — a requirement that is not being complied with. This means that on top of the utterly unacceptable nature of the detentions, many of the migrants are being held illegally. In some camps the number of detainees is twice as much as what had been originally planned, without separate areas for men and women who are living in increasingly precarious conditions, and the authorities continue to take more migrants to the already overcrowded camps.

According to information obtained by MSF teams, there are shortages in water supply, sanitary facilities are poorly maintained, hygiene is deplorable, shelter and food distributions are inadequate. The teams have also observed a considerable increase in people suffering from stress and wounds caused by violence. Already heightened tensions are escalating everywhere, due to overcrowding and prolonged incarceration. Meanwhile, the migrants are given very little information, which would help them anticipate at least some kind of future for themselves.

Based on rejection, the migration policy drawn up by the European Union is achieving what it set out to do as fewer migrants are landing on the islands. But it would appear that the savagery of such a policy is still not deemed sufficient as those who continue to cross the Aegean Sea at the risk of their lives find themselves detained in conditions that are as much deplorable as arbitrary.

This incarceration only aggravates the situation of the refugees who are being treated in an increasingly inhumane and degrading manner. It is both urgent and vital to ease at least some of their suffering by opening up the camps and allowing them to move freely around the islands. MSF reminds the European Union and the Greek authorities of the abject conditions of these incarcerations and calls for the immediate opening of hotspot centres.

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