Since May 2023, between 120 and 800 people have been officially excluded from the official food distribution at the Mavrovouni Camp on Lesvos. Those affected by this – from a humanitarian perspective highly neglectful – practice are all individuals who are no longer in an asylum process, having received either a positive or negative decision from the authorities.
“For the past eight months, together with the organizations Refugee Relief Doro Blancke, Europe Cares e.V., and Siniparxi, we have been taking care of all the people from the camp who no longer receive basic food supplies,” says Patrick Münz from the organization LeaveNoOneBehind. “Providing food for 500 people for seven weeks costs us over 20,000 euros. It’s unacceptable that we, as civil society, have to close this deliberately created gap.”
“Since there are no organized transports or other support from the government, and the Greek integration program Helios has been on hold since October 1, 2023, most people cannot simply leave the camp and the island, and it’s impossible to find one’s own housing or paid work overnight,” Doro Blancke adds, who leads one of the humanitarian NGOs on Lesvos.
The NGOs are now addressing an open letter to the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, and the Greek Minister of Migration.
“For months, EU representatives and the state authorities in Greece have been aware that we are filling a gap that would otherwise lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. They are also aware that we, as donation-funded NGOs, cannot fulfill this task indefinitely,” Münz explains.
The four signing NGOs conclude the open letter with a clear call for responsibility to the addressees. Although Greece continues to feel left alone by the other EU member states in accepting incoming refugees, it must be possible to maintain basic values and humanitarian duties and not to conduct political conflicts at the expense of those seeking protection.
Open Letter Lesvos