Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Amnesty International has warned that refugees on Greek islands live in dire conditions as their camps are dangerously overcrowded, placing vulnerable female refugees “at increased risk of harrowing abuses.”
In a report titled, “I want to decide about my future – Uprooted women in Greece speak out,” the UK-based rights group said that overcrowding in refugee receptions facilities on Greek islands had reached the “crisis point.”
The report, published on Friday, focused on the desperate voices of thousands of women and girls fleeing persecution and conflict, which forced them to undertake extremely difficult and perilous journeys to Greece.
It said that almost 17,000 refugees were currently living in five camps designed to house around 6,400 people, adding, “Lack of sanitation, insufficient clean drinking water, streams of raw sewage and infestations of mice and rats are common in all camps.”
Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said the European government’s “abject failure to open safe and legal routes to refugees fleeing war is putting women and girls at increased risk of harrowing abuses.”
Last month, Greek Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas vowed “to make every effort” to improve living conditions for refugees held in detention camps on its Aegean Sea islands, but it seems that Athens has a long way ahead to achieve this goal.
“Lack of locks on bathroom doors and poor lighting mean that everyday activities such as going to the toilet, showering or even just walking at night become fraught with danger for women and girls”, said the report.
The rights group called for the European Union’s leaders to help improve the livening conditions for refugees, particularly female ones, in the Greek camps.
According to the United Nations refugee agency, more than half of the refugees arriving in Greece are women and children.
Europe has been the destination of hundreds of thousands of refugees from crisis zones in Asia and Africa in recent years. Particularly when the crisis began in 2015, many of the refugees arrived in Greece, one of the nearest destinations in Europe.
As arrivals surged, Greece and other European countries began to feel overwhelmed, either shutting their borders to new arrivals or taking the refugees to squalid detention camps.
The EU is bound to share out the incoming arrivals. But most countries where the refugees initially arrive in have complained of a lack of cooperation by other member states.
Many blame support by some Western countries for militants operating in the Middle East as the main reason behind the departure of refugees from their home countries.