A chronological collection of developments on the camps on the Greek islands and political reactions to them from Athens, Brussels and Berlin.
News about the miserable situation in the camps unfortunately often only appear in Greek press. Many apps or add-ons for the browser offer automatic translations for this.
All news in chronological order:
07/06/2021: In an interview with Ekathimerini, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis legitimized pushbacks and confirmed them as an ordinary practice of Greek border management.
Jun 29, 2021: The Guardian reports another pushback from the Greek island of Samos to Turkey based on clear evidence.
– The Guardian
28.06.2021: The HR-Inforadio has made a contribution about the situation of protection seekers in Greece. There the conditions in the camps on the islands, the mainland and the mental challenges are discussed.
– HR Inforadio
28.06.2021: The Greek government insists that Turkey take back the approximately 1500 protection seekers who have not yet been deported again due to the Corona measures. Deportations of this kind are a central component of migration policy.
06/26/2021: Because they were freezing in their tents during the winter and they had no access to shelter appropriate for the season, two protection seekers started a fire in Moria camp in 2017. Two men died in the subsequent fire. A court has now found the Greek authorities partially guilty.
06/24/2021: In his analysis, Rory O'Keeffe describes how Greece's decision to declare Turkey a safe third country limits the right to access asylum for those seeking protection.
06/23/2021: Greece has defended its position on granting free movement to protection seekers within the European Union against criticism.
23.06.2021: Human Rights Watch has presented a new analysis of Frontex's operations at the EU's external borders, concluding that the EU agency is failing to protect people from rights abuses, violence, and torture by member states.
22.06.2021: Greece has recently started testing the use of so-called sound cannons against people seeking protection, which are supposed to prevent them from reaching EU soil and applying for asylum. In a commentary on Deutschlandfunk, this is described as a "continuation of the breach of civilisation by other means".
– DLF Culture
22.06.2021: The human rights organisation Amnesty International has published a new report on the situation at the EU's external borders. Violence, lies and systematic pushbacks are part of everyday life, and people are still denied access to an asylum procedure based on the rule of law.
– Amnesty International
21.06.2021: The Ritsona camp on the Greek mainland was recently surrounded by a three-meter high wall. Spiegel TV has filmed a report on the latest "modernizations" of the camps in Greece.
– Mirror TV
18.06.2021: HIAS and Equal Rights Beyond Borders have made a legal analysis of the situation of thousands of people seeking protection at the EU's external borders. They accuse EU policy of depriving people of their future through its externalisation strategy.
– Equal Rights Beyond Borders
06/17/2021: The Greek Council of Refugees and Oxfam report on the situation on the island in the Aegean Sea in their monthly Lesbos Bulletin.
– GCR / OXFAM
16.06.2021: Three asylum seekers have filed a complaint against the European Commission. They allege that their rights are being violated in Greece and that this has been caused by the incorrect transposition and implementation of the EU Reception Directive (2013/33/EU) and the EU Asylum Procedures Directive (2013/32/EU).
– Refugee Support Aegan
15.06.2021: The alleged arsonists of the Moria refugee camp were sentenced in camera. The Guardian comments critically on the trial and the circumstances.
– The Guardian
14.06.2021: Greece recently declared Turkey a safe third country for those seeking protection from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia. People may now be deported there. Now there is criticism of the reasoning.
14.06.2021: The responsible ministers from Austria and Greece plead for a faster implementation of agreements on the readmission of refugees. However, a discussion on distribution can only be held if the migration flows are brought to a halt.
12.06.2021: Nine months after the fire in Moria, a court has sentenced four young men to ten years in prison each. The media and other observers were not allowed to attend the two-day trial. The defendants' lawyers criticized that they had not received a fair trial.
11.06.2021: Under the title: "Asylum in Greece: A Situation Beyond Judicial Control?" the NGO ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) has published a legal commentary on the situation of asylum seekers in Greece.
10.06.2021: The Greek government has rejected criticism from other EU states that it does not prevent protection seekers from travelling freely within the Schengen area. This is neither legally possible nor feasible.
09.06.2021: The Greek migration ministry has announced that people seeking protection on the Greek islands will not have to survive another winter in tents.
09.06.2021: 9 months after the fire disaster on Lesbos, the construction works for a new camp have not started despite all announcements.
09.06.201: A new report by the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières summarizes the disastrous effects of EU asylum policies in recent years and criticizes the hotspot approach used in Greece.
– Doctors without Borders
09.06.2021: Samos is a holiday paradise for many people. But the situation for the refugees there is catastrophic.
– Bavarian Radio
08.06.2021: EU Vice President Margaritis Schinas considers the militarization of the border region between Turkey and Greece, including the use of "sound cannons", as an example of the implementation of European values.
– Greek City Times
07.06.2021: Greece now recognizes Turkey as a "safe third country" for protection seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia.
04.06.2021: Jonas Grimheden, Frontex's newly appointed Fundamental Rights Officer, makes the case for continuing Frontex's operation in Greece.
06/04/2021: A total of 147 pushbacks are now being investigated by the Supreme Court in Greece at the initiative of NGOs.
04.06.2021: UNICEF and Greece have unveiled a joint plan for protection seekers to receive their formal education in Greece.
04.06.2021: Those seeking protection in Greek refugee camps will now be included in the vaccination campaign.
– EU Observer
03.06.2021: In the night of September 8/9, 2020, the Moria refugee camp burned down. Now 6 people are put on trial who allegedly started the fire.
– Twitter Mare Liberum
03.06.2021: Several EU countries have called on Greece to do something about so-called "secondary migration".
06/02/2021: Those seeking protection in Greek refugee camps are now being vaccinated.
02.06.2021: Manos Logothetis (Secretary General for Reception Centres in Greece) has made public that around 30% of those seeking protection in Greek refugee camps have been infected with Covid-19. This is significantly more than in the rest of the population.
05/31/2021: The Greek government has introduced a new law in parliament, one of the aims of which is to deport more people.
30.05.2021: Many people seeking protection are currently being brought from the Greek islands to the mainland. Many of them end up in the Eleonas camp near Athens, which is now struggling with overcrowding. The living conditions there are so bad that comparisons are already being made with the Moria slum on Lesbos. ARD has taken a look at the situation there.
– ARD report about Eleonas.
28.05.2021: Greek Prime Minister Notis Mitarakis believes that Greece cannot be asked to integrate protection seekers, as border states already bear responsibility for external borders and initial reception.
26.05.2021: According to WDR journalist Isabel Schayani, there are still access restrictions to the temporary camp Mavrovouni on Lesbos, even for medical emergencies, people have to queue first.
– Twitter Isabel Shayani
19.05.2021: Land has been leased by the Ministry of Migration near Vastria on which the new camp on Lesvos will be built.
18.05.2021: More than 100 people in quarantine at the Mavrovouni refugee camp on Lesvos.
17.05.2021: Der Spiegel about the situation of people seeking protection in Camp Ritsona, where Corona escaped.
14.05.2021: Report by journalist Tessa Kran on the situation on Lesbos
– New Germany
12.05.2021: The Council of Europe has accused Greece of using pushbacks to deny asylum seekers access to an asylum procedure.
10.05.2021: WeAreSolomon reports on the "modernization" of Greek refugee camps. Under this guise, the Greek government is selling its plans to put closed, sealed-off camps into practice.
10.05.2021: Frontex carries the wrong age for a person seeking protection. This still has consequences for his health and safety today.
– EU Observer
10.05.2021: A refugee from Iran dies on Chios. A woman has to give birth to her child on the street.
– Keep Talking Greece
07.05.2021: A person has been found dead in a village on the Evros. He probably drowned while trying to cross the Evros.
– Evros News
05/07/2021: Minister Seehofer's deal between Greece and Germany clearly violates existing law.
– Pro Asylum
07.05.2021: A recognized refugee who is not allowed to leave the island of Chios despite his protection status dies in his tent.
– The Guardian
07.05.2021: For Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis, the closure of the Kara Tepe camp is an important step. Living conditions in the camp were reasonably good, but those seeking protection were transferred to the temporary Mavrovouni camp, which offers catastrophic living conditions for the people.
– Greek Ministry of Migration
04.05.2021: EU Observer reports on the closure of the last camp with humane living conditions. People were moved to the temporary camp Mavrovouni, where living conditions are catastrophic.
– EU Observer
01.05.2021: Greece builds walls 3 meters high around all camps on the mainland.
– old thess
30.04.2021: 52 years imprisonment for "illegal" entry into Greece from Turkey.
– The Indepent
04/29/2021: Oxfam and Greek Council of Refugees declare the situation on the Greek islands as "de facto detention".
29.04.2021: The Greek Ombudsman concludes that he is unable to resolve allegations of pushbacks, partly because his investigations are obstructed by state authorities.
29.04.2021: A total of 620 protection seekers from Kara Tepe camps were transferred to the temporary camp in Mavrovouni.
04/28/2021: The Greek Ombudsman has received dozens of complaints about pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish land and sea border.
27.04.2021: Report on the catastrophic food quality in Greek refugee camps, on Lesbos probably food worth 30.000€ had to be disposed of.
27.04.2021: Greek refugee camps will be partially monitored with video cameras from now on.
27.04.2021: Several legal NGOs in Greece have asked Commissioner Johansson to comment on her legal assessment of the GR/TUR situation.
– Human Rights 360°
26.04.2021: The International Rescue Committee to relocate people from Kara Tepe to Mavrovouni.
– International Rescue Committee
04/26/2021: Notis Mitarakis accuses North Aegean governor of being to blame for Moria fire in September 2020.
– Notis Mitarakis
25.04.2021: Figures on tenders for the provision of meals in Greece.
– Samos Today
24.04.2021: On Chios protests against the new planned closed camp continue.
24.04.2021: NGO RSA on the closure of Kara Tepe
– NGO RSA
22.04.2021: The works for the new "closed-controlled Centre" on Leros have started.
– Leros News
22.04.2021: The initial reception facility Nea Kavala in the north of Thessanoliki will be surrounded by a 3-meter high fence in the future. You can only get in and out with a special access card. First closed centre in GR.
21.04.2021: Although on Chios the local government has now expropriated the land on which, according to the preferences of the Greek government, the new "closed-controlled Centre" should stand, a tender worth 13 million euros for the construction has been published.
21.04.2021: The Greek government is pushing ahead with plans to expand the RIC on the Evros River despite continued opposition from the local community.
– Evros News
21.04.2021: Oxfam / Greek Refugee Council view the planned closure of Kara Tepe and transfer of people to Mavrovouni camp as very concerning.
Significantly fewer arrivals on the Greek islands, more people being sent on.
19.04.2021: In a telephone conference with the Portuguese Council Presidency, the Greek government stressed the "necessity of external measures by the EU". What is meant by this is further isolation.
15.04.2021: In a television interview, the Greek Minister of MIgration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, confirmed that the new camps will be closed and outside urban areas.
13.04.2021: The local parliament on Lesvos has approved the construction of a new "Multi-Purpose Reception and Identification Camp". It is supposed to have a capacity for 3000 people, it is still unclear where it will be built.
09.04.2021: Notis Mitarakis (Minister of Migration and Asylum) has commented on last year's returns and his assessment of the Commission's Asylum Pact proposal.
Apr 05, 2021 – The meeting between Johansson and Mitarakis will also discuss the border sitzuation.