Help us Protect Refugees in Lesvos

Help us Protect Refugees in Lesvos

On 13/09/18, the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), along with other 18 NGOs, issued a public announcement condemning the conditions at the Moria site in Lesvos and urging for sustainable solutions to improve first reception conditions in the Northern Aegean islands.

Recently, various media have reported on the appalling life conditions in the Moria camp, raising serious concerns about people’s physical and mental health and reporting on the violations of some of their most basic rights. GCR calls for your support to act now and protect those inside the camp, including families and children.  No one should have to live like this!



With your donation, we can provide legal and psychosocial support to refugees and asylum seekers in Lesvos and prioritize the extremely vulnerable cases who are in need of urgent assistance.

The situation:

Over 17,000 people remain crammed in reception centers on the Greek islands, living in desperate and absolutely substandard conditions, when the total accommodation capacity on the islands is 6,000.

Moria, the first reception center on the island of Lesvos, recently described in a BBC report as “the worst refugee camp in the world,” is currently hosting almost three times its capacity.

The conditions at Moria today:  

  • The sewage system does not work and filthy toilet water reaches the tents and mattresses where children sleep
  • There is one toilet for 72 people and one shower for 84 people
  • People are stuck in limbo for years with no information about their situation
  • There is a lack of legal aid and procedures are long and complex
  • There have been reports of suicidal attempts
  • Failure to identify and protect the vulnerable cases including torture victims, families with very young children and babies, single men with psychiatric disabilities, women travelling alone with children, people with disabilities or in need of immediate health care, pregnant women, and people with a history of refugee trauma
  • Reports of sexual violence and abuse against women and children are on the rise

GCR has been monitoring the situation in Lesvos since February 2015 and established a permanent presence on the island since the spring of 2016, with a team of lawyers and social workers working incessantly in order to help refugees and asylum seekers, with special emphasis placed on the most vulnerable cases. GCR particularly focuses on victims of torture, gender based violence, domestic violence, victims of trafficking and other forms of exploitation, survivors of xenophobic violence or other hate crimes, as well as minors. These people need to be identified as vulnerable in order to be removed immediately from the camps, where existing conditions exacerbate their situation and put their lives in more danger.

Our team in Lesvos, among other things:

  • Identifies vulnerable cases and makes referrals to other organizations when necessary
  • Supports people with their applications for family reunification and asylum procedures
  • Prepares vulnerability assessments to support asylum claims
  • Offers psychosocial support and crisis intervention
  • Offers counseling in cases of domestic violence, xenophobic violence and hate crime
  • Provides information with regard to human rights
  • Monitors the situation and urges the government to take action, decongest the islands and improve living conditions

As more people continue to arrive in Lesvos’ overcrowded camps, while conditions remain inhumane and incidents of violence occur daily, we urgently need to protect those inside, prevent further violations of human rights and put an end to this shameful situation.

The Greek Council for Refugees calls for your help to support our team in Lesvos and to safeguard people’s basic human rights inside the camps.


Image by Dimitris Michalakis / GCR. 

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