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Living Conditions in Lesbos, Greece

Two years on, deal continues to fail thousands of people seeking asylum

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Two years ago, the European Union and its member States decided to historically fail thousands of people and to compromise the very concept of asylum by agreeing to return to Turkey asylum seekers seeking safety in Europe. Since then, our medical teams in Greece have witnessed an endless stream of misery and desperation from the thousands of men, women and children who continue to arrive on Greek shores and are trapped on the Greek islands. It’s them who pay the real cost of this dirty deal.

Our clinics are overwhelmed by desperate people escaping war and violence who are afraid of being sent back and who have completely lost any hope that they will ever find peace for them and their children.

Every day MSF teams treat scars, both mental and physical, created or made worse by these inhumane policies. After the consultations, they can do nothing more than send these people back to the same tents, overcrowded containers and limbo situation that produces the suffering. Is this unbearable vicious circle the success story that the EU continues to celebrate?  

Today and every day as MSF we will continue to firmly oppose a deal that is not focused on improving the protection and assistance of those in need, but on the contrary seems deliberately intended to produce suffering for those who cross the sea, with the idea that this will deter others from undertaking the crossing.  Not only is it cruel but it just doesn’t work. With no alternative options, families from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to risk it all on a daily basis in order to reach Greek shores.

We will not stop demanding that the EU and the Greek authorities end this cynical strategy of containment, to stop further damaging the health of our patients and respect their dignity.

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Report 10 October 2017