Wednesday 27 November 2019, 11:00am
Résidence Palace - International Press Centre, 155 rue de la loi - Block C,1040 Brussels
Dr Christos Christou, international president, MSF
Reem Mussa, adviser on forced migration, MSF
Caroline Willemen, former coordinator of MSF's project on Lesbos
Dr Christos Christou visited MSF projects in Athens and on Samos and Lesbos islands from 18th - 22nd November.
At the press conference, he will ask European leaders to take shared responsibility for assisting and protecting people who seek safety in Europe, and for the current situation on the Greek islands. They must end the policy of containment, break the deal with Turkey, and increase relocation from Greece to other European states.
In March 2016, the EU and Turkey agreed on a policy to contain asylum seekers on the Greek islands whilst determining if they could apply for asylum in Europe or had to be returned to Turkey - the 'EU Turkey deal'.
Thousands of people have had to wait months, or even years, in appalling conditions in overcrowded centres. Their health and mental health have deteriorated as a result.
What was once a crisis deepened by Europe’s failure to provide adequate assistance to the thousands of asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands has become a crisis caused by European policies which trap them there.
Today, the Greek islands are in a predictable and preventable state of chronic emergency. Overcrowding is extreme: more than 16,000 people are living in Moria's reception and identification camp (Lesbos) which has a capacity of 3,100, and more than 7,000 in the centre on Samos, which has a capacity of around 630.
MSF has been working on the Greek islands for more than four years.