MSF reaction to new prison-like centre on Samos, Greece

MSF reaction to new prison-like centre on Samos, Greece

On 18 September 2021, a new Multi-Purpose Reception & Identification Centre (MPRIC) will open on Samos island. This is a symbolic moment showing the dangerous and harmful escalation of European migration policies that seek to deter people from seeking safety in Europe and detain those who make it. Some 500 people who remain in Vathy camp will be transferred to the new centre from the 20th September onwards. Located in a completely remote location, called Zervou, this centre is being sold as an improvement, but in reality, is a dystopian nightmare – with millions spent on surveillance systems and military-grade barbed wire fences.

Patrick Wieland, MSF Field Coordinator on Samos:

“How audacious that while we see what’s happening in countries like Afghanistan, the EU and Greece are busy inaugurating a new prison for asylum seekers on the island of Samos? Maybe the barbed wire is shiny and new in their centre but this cannot be sold as an improvement. This is the perfect illustration of how criminal the EU policy on migration is - holding and detaining people who are escaping violence and punishing them for wanting to be safe. It is a disgrace.”


MSF psychologist on Samos: 

"For months now, our patients in the MSF clinic in Samos come to their appointments with the fear of being locked-up in the new centre, feeling completely abandoned and helpless. For those who have survived torture, the new highly controlled centre means not only the loss of freedom but re-living past traumatic experiences. The majority of our mental health patients on Samos present symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Between April and August 2021, a shocking 64% of new patients that reached our mental health clinic presented thoughts of suicide and 14% were at an actual risk of suicide.

"As psychologists working with the people who are at the frontline of Europe’s tightening migration policies, we witness on a daily basis the deterioration of their mental and physical well-being. The opening of the new prison camp is changing the collective identity of the refugees, their self-esteem and image: their dignity. Europe is breaking them."

About MSF UK

This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF UK's privacy notice is available here.

Lower Ground Floor, Chancery Exchange,
10 Furnival Street, London, EC4A 1AB