Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Greece: migrants accustomed to brawls amid mounting hardships

Syrian Refugees | 2020-05-09 20:31:00
Greece: migrants accustomed to brawls amid mounting hardships
(Zaman Al Wasl)- There are almost daily fights and individual or group clashes among refugees and migrants, who are seeking the european dream, inside and outside the Greek islands.

Tensions soar whether between Afghans or Africans in the Greek islands or on the mainland (refugee camps inside the country). Refugees and migrants use sticks, knives and tracks, which result in injuries and deaths between the two parts. Over the past few days, more than 5 people have been reported killed in the fights. Whereas, the Greek authorities are unable to do anything about this, especially if they are uncontrollable and mass fighting.

The Lesbos island, located only 8 kilometers from Turkish territory, has the largest number of immigrants, especially Afghanians, ranging between 7000 and 8000 refugees and migrants.

However,  the island of “Lesbos” is supposed to accommodate no more than 2000 people, it still receives more refugees trapped in illegal immigration boats who succeed in escaping death and reaching the island from Turkey, which made the camp abnormally overcrowded. In addition to the inhuman conditions prevailing there.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that runs a clinic inside the camp, there is one toilet for every 72 people and 1 bathroom for every 84 people living in Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, not to mention the random expansion of olive trees around the camp. This overcrowding made this camp more like a time bomb, as killings and abuse among its residents became almost daily.

Alaa Al-Iraqi, director of the Rescue and Follow-up Cell, attributed the causes of the quarrels and clashes that occur among refugees and migrants, often to their large numbers and the different customs, traditions and languages. For example, quarrels occur in the food queue or the bathroom, due to a stampede, harassment, or verbal abuse.

In an interview with Zaman Al-Wasl, Alaa explained that most of the migrants are young people, including those who have taken misplaced paths, looking for drugs and alcohol.

Alaa added that the Greek government’s assistance to every migrant does not exceed 90 Euros per month, and it is not sufficient if someone wants to buy drugs and alcohol so they resort to theft among themselves inside the tents. This results in clashes, conflicts and may even knife stabbing.
Al-Iraqi indicated that many refugees and migrants unfortunately have aggressive tendencies that they carried from their homes to the countries of asylum 

In fact, there are approximately 5,000 Afghanian on the island of Lesbos, which is very large compared to other nationalities. Therefore, they control the camp and form a kind of ready mafias or gangs for any fighting and killings to occur, without signs of dissolution by the camp administration and the Greek police.

Alaa added that these authorities may sometimes interfere when the quarrel is simple and may ask for support from the Greek riot to break it up, but often ignore what happens.

Furthermore, he pointed out that the Greek procedures regarding the refugees’s situations are slow. Some refugees have been for more than a year since he remained in the camp and submitted his papers without any solution, in addition to the accumulation of numbers. As every day new boats come to these islands, which aggravates the situation and creates problems.

Alaa believes that European countries will not think about these problems by opening its borders or taking any step that may improve the emigrants' situations, adding that these actions weaken the immigrant's situation and reduce their chances of getting facilitation in asylum procedures.

The Greek government plans to establish 10 new camps on the Greek mainland and move approximately 10,000 refugees from the Greek islands to it, in a move to ease the pressure on the island camps where approximately 42,000 migrants live in difficult humanitarian situations, in light of the delays of the asylum procedures.

(By Faris al-Rifai)

Zaman Al Wasl
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