The EU has closed its borders. Moria has become a detention centre. People around the world have protested. On March 24th around 200 people on Lesvos gathered in front of Moria to protest the EU deal which will implement mass deportations. As far as we have gathered from the news and from MSF, people will be forced to apply for asylum in Greece and those for whom it is not granted will be deported to camps in Turkey. Officially, only people from Iraq and Syria are considered refugees and we expect that all other nationalities will be deported with minimal consideration.
In order to interview everyone individually for asylum the EU has estimated a cost of about 20 million euros per day. This money will be put into employment of extra people in order to speed up the process. Yet, it is said that no one will be deported to Turkey until April 4th and even then it may take weeks more to fully implement this system. From Lesvos, we have been witnessing ferries being filled and sent to the Greek mainland where they are put into camps with atrocious conditions, completely uncertain of their future.
We are also left with very little information to give to people upon landing. As we work closely with MSF they have told us their advisers and translators will be in charge of distributing as much information as possible to the refugees. As well as this, MSF has refused to be involved in the transportation of people from their camp in the North to the detention centre, Moria, in the South. Police buses are now being used for this purpose.
In this confusing time it is difficult to place our role exactly. We do not agree with what Moria has turned into as it restricts people’s movement as well facilitates the deportation of people who have come from war zones or poverty and should be given the right to live in a safe country. We continue our work as normal and try to equip people as best as possible. It is still of the utmost importance to us that people arrive safely and are given basic needs at the cheese factory. Police forces have not intervened in our work so far and by transporting people to the MSF camp we can at least be assured that they are given information. In this time, news is invaluable and it is a small comfort knowing that the people are at least given primary care and information.