Still no solution:
People’s lives have literally been put on hold.
Told to wait without promise of anything and almost no information.
This is inhuman and degrading treatment!
Asked to move to other camps – yet without transparency, nor information provided. No assurance if there will be access to necessary services and if freedom of movement will be further restricted.
The European Union treats with callous disregard the lives of people that have fled wartorn nations.
For the vast majority of refugees, the only official way to leave Greece and enter other European countries is to apply for the relocation programme by the European Union through the Greek Asylum Service. This relocation programme is only accessible via Skype for extremely limited timeslots. Information about the procedure is difficult to access. Skype times are changing weekly, yet there is no official public page or info line to check up on these changes. The only people who are able to call the asylum office are those who have the assets – smartphones, computers, money to buy data – and who are able to access the unstable internet connections that exist in a few camps. This still means thousands of people try to call the asylum office via Skype every day – and mostly in vain. At last count the Thessaloniki office took only around 30 calls a day, although this is not widely understood and the Greek Asylum Service doesn’t make it known that in practice this is more or less a lottery system. The lucky few who get through are then able to book an appointment to hand in their application to an asylum office after another two month wait. This trip is expected to be self-financed. Meanwhile sitting resignedly on Skype hold and finding places to recharge phones becomes the repeated daily activity for many. Even with promises of more timeslots and staff to be allocated it is clear this system is inadequate.
The EU uses the relocation programme to perpetuate social division by using the levels of education and qualification of the people as a criteria for their acceptance. People are fleeing war, violence and oppression – not applying for a new job.
This relocation service only accepts people from Syria, Iraq and a few other listed countries. For other people the only remaining options are to apply for family reunification, if having a spouse or an unaccompanied minor already living in another European country or to seek asylum in Greece. All the above options are only accessible through the same hopelessly overloaded Skype procedure.
The exact consequences of the EU–Turkey deal for refugees in mainland Greece remain unclear. It is unknown how much money allocated to government departments will be invested in much needed accommodation or easing the process for refugees to enter other EU states from Greece. Different sources hint that EU officials sent to advise Greece will more likely be focusing on accelerating the deportations to Turkey.
This lack of transparency, information and access to such already limited options has resulted in many refugees losing faith in the EU programs. To many they no longer have credibility and are a source of increasing frustration.
Wherever people are currently located, medical treatment is nearly impossible to access except for emergency cases. Due to the abysmal conditions in camp – crowded living spaces, no hot water for washing, and pools of stagnant water after rain – hygiene is very bad and illness spreads quickly. Consequently, a lot of people are falling sick and have no access to treatment or a safer environment to recover. Despite the best efforts of overworked volunteer doctors, simple medical problems can still become serious very quickly.