This statement has been endorsed by GCAP and our Faces of Migration partners.

#savepikpa #savedignity


Μore than 160 Greek and international organizations,  academics and other actors from all over Europe urge the Greek authorities to revoke decision to close dignified alternatives in accommodating refugees οn Lesvos

Athens, 30 September 2020 – We, the undersigned, call on the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, and the local authorities of Lesvos to repeal their decision to terminate the operations of PIKPA and Kara Tepe facilities for vulnerable asylum seekers on the island of Lesvos. The authorities should not only revoke the decision to shut down these facilities, but in this time of great need, they should further strengthen and protect all dignified alternative solutions for asylum seekers’ housing and protection.

In the last five years, PIKPA and Kara Tepe have sheltered vulnerable people escaping from the deplorable living conditions in the Reception and Identification Center (RIC) of Moria, a dangerous place where residents’ health and safety was continuously in jeopardy. The decision to shut down these facilities comes only a few days after a devastating series of blazes burned camp Moria to the ground, leaving more than 12.000 women, men and children with no access to shelter, food and water.

While a new “emergency” camp has been set up on the island, which is currently hosting former residents of Moria camp, many of the signatories present on the ground report significant gaps in protection, access to electricity, water supply and sanitation, safety and security. For as long as the conditions in the RICs are undignified for human beings, alternative responses will be needed, to protect the most vulnerable. PIKPA and Kara Tepe should now by all means continue to offer accommodation and protection solutions that are appropriate, especially for the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied and separated children, single mothers, victims of torture and ill treatment, male and female survivors of gender-based and sexual violence, and people with disabilities.

PIKPA, an open, self-organised solidarity space, has provided essential services and assistance to refugees on Lesvos since 2012. In 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), awarded the Nansen Refugee Award to one of the co-founders of PIKPA, in recognition of their work saving lives and providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable during the refugee ‘crisis’ in 2015. Today, PIKPA hosts unaccompanied children, single mothers and persons that have suffered torture or ill treatment, as well as many people with heightened vulnerabilities. Survivors of torture and ill treatment suffer from chronic physical pain for years after their abuse, and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, withdrawal and self-isolation, post traumatic stress, known as PTSD etc. PIKPA offers a dignified and safe space for the survivors who would otherwise be continuously re-traumatized in an unsafe environment.

Kara Tepe has been run by the municipality with a capacity of more than 1,000 people. It has offered humane living conditions to vulnerable asylum seekers and families that were transferred there from Moria, including single parents, people with disabilities, and many families with health problems. It has been lauded for its infrastructure and community-like atmosphere.

While it is unclear where current residents of PIKPA and Kara Tepe will be transferred, the undersigned are convinced that going to the new “emergency” camp would endanger their physical and mental health and should be avoided at all costs. In addition, PIKPA and Kara Tepe could actually take in and better provide for the individuals who are more “at-risk” currently residing in the new Lesvos RIC. This would be especially important for people with disabilities, for example, as there are no accessible latrines in the new RIC at this time.

We urge Greece’s national and local authorities:

To immediately halt the closure of PIKPA and Kara Tepe and to support and further enhance their outstanding contributions.  At the same time the authorities should seek solutions in line with human rights standards for the operation of the new temporary camp in Lesvos, pursuing the ultimate goal of its steady decongestion, and providing adequate standards in terms of  safety, water, sanitation and medical assistance to all residents, until all are moved to safer and dignified accommodation conditions”.

The signatories:

  • A Buon Diritto Onlus
  • ActionAid Hellas
  • Agir pour la paix
  • Aid Brigade
  • AITIMA
  • Amnesty International
  • Anders Wachsen
  • ANTIGONE – Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence
  • Are You Syrious (AYS)
  • ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth
  • Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucia  (APDHA)
  • Asociación SINGA España
  • Association européenne de défense des droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  • Babel Day Centre
  • Basta Violenza alle Frontiere
  • Be a Robin
  • Better Days
  • borderline-europe e.V.
  • Calais Action Brighton
  • Casetta Rossa
  • Catch a Smile asbl
  • Centre Avec asbl
  • Centre de formation Bienenberg
  • Changemakers Lab
  • Choosehumanity
  • Chorleywood4Refugees
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams Netherlands
  • Church and Peace
  • Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean
  • Collectif de soutien de l’EHESS aux sans-papiers et aux migrant-es
  • Collectif pour une terre plus humaine
  • Collective Aid
  • Comité de Solidarité avec le Peuple Grèce de Lyon
  • Coordindora de Barrios
  • CPT – Aegean Migrant Solidarity
  • CRIBS International
  • CRID – Centre de recherche et d’information pour le développement
  • Diotima
  • Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
  • Defence for Children International
  • Defence for Children International – Italy
  • Defence for Children International – Netherlands
  • Defence for Children International Greece
  • Defensa de Niñas y Niños – Internacional , DNI España
  • Défense des enfants International Belgique
  • Député Wallon (Belgique)
  • Destination Unknown campaign
  • Distribute Aid
  • Doctors Worldwide
  • Donate4Refugees
  • ECHO for Refugees
  • ECHO100PLUS
  • Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki
  • European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies
  • ELIX – Conservation Volunteers Greece
  • ENAR – European Network Against Racism
  • ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – rehabilitate Human Dignity
  • European Women’s Lobby
  • Everyday, just a smile
  • Fenix – Humanitarian Legal Aid
  • Firetree Philanthropy
  • Firetree Trust
  • Fondation Danielle Mitterrand
  • foodKIND
  • FORGE for humanity
  • Fresh Response
  • Friends Of Refugees
  • German Mennonite Peace Committee
  • Glocal Roots
  • Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
  • Greek Council for Refugees
  • Greek Helsinki Monitor
  • Griechenland Solidaritätskomitee Köln
  • Heimatstern e.V.
  • Hello My Friend
  • Help Refugees / Choose Love
  • Herts for Refugees
  • HIAS Greece
  • HIGGS
  • Hoffnung leben e.V., Bonn, Deutschland
  • Hope and Aid Direct
  • HuBB – Humans Before Borders
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Humanitas, Centre for Global Education and Cooperation
  • Humanity Now
  • HumanRights360
  • Initiative for an alternative mental health
  • Initiative for the Detainees’ Rights
  • InterEuropean Human Aid Association
  • International Centre for Refugees ICERAS
  • International Federation of Social Workers, European Region (IFSW Europe)
  • International Rescue Committee
  • INTERSOS
  • InterVolve
  • Iride
  • Jelscha Dietrich
  • Jesuit Refugee Service Greece
  • Khora Community Centre
  • La Luna Di Vasilika ONLUS
  • Latitude Adjustment Podcast
  • Le Paria
  • Legal Centre Lesvos
  • Lesvos Solidarity
  • Love Welcomes
  • Make Mothers Matter
  • MAMbrella
  • Medecins du Monde/ Greece
  • Medecins Sans Frontieres -Doctors Without Borders -MSF
  • Medico International
  • Melissa: Network of Migrant Women in Greece
  • Mennonite Mission Network
  • Mennonitisches Friedenszentrum Berlin/Mennonite Peace Center Berlin
  • Migrant Voice
  • Migrations Libres
  • MiGreat
  • Mαζί/Together/معاً
  • Network for Children’s Rights
  • One Family-No Borders
  • One Happy Family
  • ONGD CEPAC-IB
  • Open Cultural Center
  • Organization Earth
  • Owl’s Watch
  • Pampiraiki Support Initiative for Refugees & Migrants
  • Parroquia San Carlos Borromeo
  • Peaceful Borders
  • People in motion
  • Pluspunt Netherlands
  • Pro Asyl
  • Project Armonia
  • Protestant Association for Conscientious Objectors and Peace (EAK), Germany
  • Rechtsanwältin
  • Refugee Aid Network Uk
  • Refugee Compassion
  • Refugee Education And Learning International
  • Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V.
  • Refugee Rescue
  • Refugee Support Aegean ( R.S.A.)
  • Refugee Support Europe
  • Refugee Trauma Initiative
  • Refugee Youth Service
  • Refugees International
  • REFUGYM
  • RefuNet
  • Reseau Foi & Justice Afrique Europe Antenne France
  • Respekt für Griechenland e.V.
  • Rethinking Refugees – Knowledge and Action
  • Safe Passage UK
  • SAO Association for displaced women
  • Seebruecke Wuppertal
  • ShowerPower Foundation
  • Side by Side Refugees
  • SolidarityNow
  • Still I Rise
  • Stop Precarite
  • Support Art Workers (Greece)
  • Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece
  • Terre des hommes Hellas
  • Thalassa of Solidarity
  • Vasilika Moon
  • Velos Youth
  • Verein FAIR
  • Voice Of Ezidis
  • Wiltshire For Refugees
  • Yoga and Sport For Refugees
  • Youth for Refugees
  • Youth organization «Protests»

Also endorsed by:

  • Prof. dr. Ilse Derluyn, Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR), Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
  • Vassilis Pavlopoulos , Associate Professor of Cross-Cultural Psychology – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Antonello D’Elia, Presidente di Società Italiana di Psichiatria Democratica Onlus
  • Hellen Gerolymatos McDonald, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, MSW, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work, U.S.A (The opinions are Hellen McDonald’s and not those of the University of Illinois)
  • Luciano Rondine, Settore immigrazione e inclusione sociale, Centro di prevenzione psicosociale Nodo Sankara
  • Joanna Kato, chair of Human Rights & Social Responsibility Committee of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT)
  • Athina Fragkouli, President of the Board of the Society of Social Psychiatry P. Sakellaropoulos

 

See more on our Faces of Migration page.