Since 2012 the self-organised center PIKPA on the island of Lesbos hosts refugees. In connection with the Agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the authorities want to close it, and generalize the policy of refugees confinement in detention centers.
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Lesvos Solidarity Camp (ex-PIKPA) is a unique volunteer and refugee run camp, which was created in 2012 and is now under threat of closure. It has been at the heart of the greatest humanitarian crisis to hit Europe in over half a century, providing shelter to the most vulnerable refugees and supporting the humanitarian needs of refugees all over the island and other parts of Greece
Following the EU Turkey Deal, the Mayor of Lesvos announced the closure of the camp, along with other solidarity built structures. Refugees will instead be held in closed detention centres akin to prisons, run by the army and police.
PIKPA Camp hosts vulnerable refugees, including people with disabilities, lone women and children, and the families of shipwreck survivors. Over the past six months, around 2000 people have been sheltered at the camp. Residents receive the care, information and protection that they deserve, including medical care, psychosocial support, information and legal advice.
In a situation where more than 50,000 thousand refugees are trapped in Greece, a country facing an economic and humanitarian crisis, the decision announced by the Mayor to close the camp is illogical and short sighted – and a tragedy for the people who have been relying on its support.
There are currently not enough reception facilities in Greece to look after fit and healthy refugees, let alone those in need of immediate care. Most refugees are being hosted in squalid, unsanitary and substandard conditions. As a result of this and the quality of care that we provide, we have received a statement of support from leading humanitarian actors, such as Médecins Sans Frontières.
For the last three and a half years, PIKPA has been operating on a site granted to the local Municipality; who would prefer the site became a summer camp for children, despite the gravity of the crisis they are engulfed in.
We call on the government of Greece and the municipality of Lesvos to allow the Lesvos Solidarity Collective to continue meeting the needs of vulnerable refugees at PIKPA Camp.
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