Articles  •  International  •  Politics & Economics

Lesbos: The migrant crisis is a humanitarian crisis

10 November 2020

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the island of Lesbos. The island has become a dumping ground for unfortunate migrants seeking a better life in the EU. These migrants have been forced into indefinite internment in the island’s vast refugee camps. Following the fire which destroyed the largest of these, the infamous Moria camp, over 7,500 migrants are now living in subhuman conditions with little access to water, electricity or sanitation in a makeshift tent city which has been dubbed “Moria 2.0”.

It has been announced that two remaining camps on the island, Pikpa and Kara Tepe, are set to be closed. Kara Tepe, which has a capacity of around 1,000, is set to close by the end of the year. Pikpa, a camp for vulnerable migrants such as children and the elderly, has reportedly now been shut down by the island’s authorities. This has been heavily criticised by migrant’s rights groups. 

Karl Kopp, director of European affairs for the NGO Pro Asyl, stated that the Greek authorities’ decision to close the camp was taken “to destroy this symbol of humanity at all costs. They don’t want shelters for refugees like PIKPA to even exist on the Greek islands. They want everyone to go to their misery camps.”

The policy of the Greek authorities towards the migrant communities living on Lesbos and the other Greek islands is in line with the EU’s general strategy of ‘Fortress Europe’ – to prevent migrants from reaching the mainland. For the crime of wanting a better life for themselves and their families, migrants are being trapped in hellish conditions reminiscent of a concentration camp. 

The authorities work persistently to close the few dignified shelters which still exist. The only route out of these conditions is to make an asylum claim, which often takes years to resolve. The majority of such claims are unsuccessful, and the result of a rejection is detention and deportation.

The only solution to this crisis is a socialist one. The national bourgeoisie of the European nations will never accept these migrants willingly, despite often having caused the environmental disasters and wars from which they are fleeing! The working class by contrast is an international class, and is therefore the only class capable of resolving an international crisis of this nature. 

Until the working class has seized the levers of state power across Europe, this crisis is unfortunately bound to deepen and intensify in proportion to the environmental catastrophe and inter-state conflicts caused by the capitalist system. Therefore, workers across Europe need to show solidarity with the plight of migrants and put pressure on their national governments to finally take some action against the barbarity of the EU’s policies.

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