Island of Lesbos: humanitarian and political emergency

Statement by the Migration Task Force of the Conference of INGOs
Strasbourg 11 September 2020
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Island of Lesbos: humanitarian and political emergency

The fire in the Registration and Identification Centre of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos is indicative of a situation that is getting worse by the day.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, through its  Migration Task Force, vehemently expresses its indignation at the deplorable living conditions in the refugee camp of Moria. The obligation of confinement imposed in the camp until the end of August has not made life in the camps any easier and has slowed down the actions of the NGOs on the spot.

The consequences of the fire are dramatic for the people who had to flee the camp, the pandemic making it even more difficult for the State services and local NGOs to act, as they are too often hindered in their efforts.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe recalls the "Berlin Agreement" on a solidarity mechanism for the reception of migrants in the Mediterranean and supports the European Union which express it readiness to help in the context of this humanitarian disaster.

The values of the Council of Europe, and first and foremost the defense of Human Rights, are solid references that must form the basis for the decisions of member States in terms of solidarity and reception of migrants.

We support the appeal of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to the Greek authorities who must ensure at all levels the protection of asylum seekers and migrants against attacks and refrain from any rhetoric likely to increase tensions.

Humanitarian NGOs were often targeted by the same attacks.  NGOs and Civil Society must be able to carry out their work in a respectful environment.