The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR) publish today a video on the rights of refugees in Greece

The two organizations denounced today the inaction of European authorities on the situation of thousands of refugees, many of who face a third winter in tents and precarious accommodation in Greece.

"We came to Europe because everyone told us that in Europe there were human rights. Once I have arrived here, I can not do anything," says an Iraqi refugee in the video.

(Madrid and Athens 29/01/2019). "If I was not sick and so tired, I would wait quietly. But I'm sick, very sick, and I can not wait," says Ibrahim, one of the 14,000 asylum seekers still trapped on the Greek islands today.

His voice is heard in the video "Until when, Europe?" that the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR) broadcast today, to remind EU Member States of their joint responsibility for the situation in which more than 70,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been exposed for a third consecutive year in the aftermath of the EU-Turkey Statement.

"After signing the agreement with Turkey and abandoning the relocation process with just one third of what was agreed, the European authorities have decided to look the other way when they are reminded of the situation of these people. It is a shame that this humanitarian drama that is taking place on European soil is perpetuated," said Estrella Galán, director of CEAR.

"We live in a small tent and the baby is very cold," says Ali, a Syrian refugee, in the video, from the island of Lesvos. "It's scary to live here and it's very cold. But I can not do anything. I can not go anywhere else," adds a woman who also fled the war from the same country.

It is way past time for Europe to finally acknowledge that this is a shared responsibility in need of common and humane solutions. It is urgent to create actual, shared solutions that aim to protect persons in distress, claimed the two organizations.

"It is undeniable that Greece has an indisputable responsibility for the ongoing disrespect of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers found in its territory. However it is equally undeniable that the EU-Turkey Statement, which has trapped asylum seekers on the islands, is a prime factor for this ongoing situation. As long as it is in effect, and as long an effective responsibility-sharing mechanism is not in place, we don’t expect much to change; at least not for the people”, said Vasilis Papadopoulos, GCR’s Legal Unit Coordinator.

Both organizations are calling on the European authorities to end this state of inaction and abandonment and acknowledge that they must take action to reaffirm both Europe’s responsibility to protect and their respect for human rights and the right to asylum, as a core symbol of the European Union.

The video is part of a project that began in 2016 between CEAR and GCR with the support of the City of Madrid, aimed at offering more than 100 places of decent reception for especially vulnerable refugees in Greece, while supporting them with legal advice and engaging in awareness and advocacy actions on the situation of refugees in the country.

Watch the video here

You can also watch the spanish version of the video here

Materials and press contact:

You can download the video "Until when Europe?" as well as the material of the interviews at the following link.

Greek Council for Refugees: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +30 210 3800990-1

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