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Greece, the risk of infection: the 21 Ngos are asking to reduce the crowding of migrants in reception Centers in the Aegean islands
the ROME - Thousands of people – the elderly, the chronically sick, children and unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, new mothers and disabled people – are trapped in the Greek islands in deplorable conditions and overcrowding are extremely dangerous. Forcing asylum seekers to stay in a situation that violates their human rights and are endangering their health, their welfare and their dignity cannot be justified by any reason of the health. The international law of human rights provides that the health needs of migrants and asylum-seekers are addressed and has – even in the context of a pandemic such as the current one – the limitations to the rights for reasons of public health or national emergency are legitimate, necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory.

on The 17th of last march, the Greek government has announced the adoption of measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the Cai of the Aegean islands: in summary, the quarantine of these centers, with thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trapped within them. These measures, according to a statement by the ministry for Asylum and migration, provide for the suspension of all the activities and all the special facilities set up in the Cai, such as informal education, and a halt to two weeks of visits, and the provision of essential services on the part of the organizations and agencies of humanitarian aid. Have been prepared in strict controls both on the movements in the output from the Cai, even for finding food, both on the internal circulation without a valid reason.

on The 22nd of march, the Greek prime minister has announced the ban of “all unnecessary movements” on the national territory.
To that date, the population of the Cai on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros was 37.427 people, top of 31,400 units, compared to the maximum capacity planned of 6.095. The conditions in these centres cannot be considered eligible to live in a dignified and humane way. Access to running water, to toilets and to showers is limited, the wait in line for the distribution of food lasts for hours, there is sufficient number of doctors and nurses. Therefore, it is almost impossible to comply with the guidelines for the protection from Covid-19. In this way, the people run a high risk of being exposed to the transmission of the virus.

The 21 humanitarian organisations and for human rights call on the Greek government to take measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, and prepare an emergency plan to be implemented as soon as it is found in the first case and positive in the Cai. If and when it occurs, a quarantine that intrappolasse thousands of healthy people in crowded fields next to positive people, in addition to the absence of an adequate and appropriate medical personnel, would result in almost certainly the preventable death of many people. The 21 organizations are therefore calling for the Greek government to adopt the following measures to reduce the risk of infection from Covid-19 in the Cai and to contribute to the protection of the public health collective:

- transfer the people who are currently in the Cai and in smaller structures located on the land, such as apartments and hotels, and to take all necessary measures for safe movement. In this way the government will be able to follow the guidelines against the spread of the Covid-19. Priority should be given to the elderly, the chronically ill and those who are in a critical state of health, the disabled, pregnant women, to new mothers and their children, for the children and to unaccompanied children;

- adopt special measures to ensure universal access and free services of public health for migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, without any discrimination, and including tampons and care for the positive at the Covid-19;

- fill the centres of the products of health and hygiene that are required and to ensure a constant supply of water, ensuring the disinfection constant of the common areas such as the toilets and ensure timely collection and disposal of waste;

- inform all residents in the Cai, in all required languages, and in a way that is understandable also by persons with disabilities on how to prevent the contagion from Covid-19, and what to do in case of symptoms;

- ensure that they are available to measures such as voluntary isolation and quarantine, and the presence of medical personnel adequately trained and equipped with protection devices;

- meet the specific needs of people living in informal settlements close to Cai, who may have problems even more acute in terms of lack of water, products, and services; sanitation and waste collection;

- ensure that the Cai will not be decongestionati are available and present physicians and nurses in adequate numbers as well as staff specialising in mental health. Where possible, these services may be provided remotely.

The organisations who have signed the appeal to the Greek government are the following: Action Aid Hellas, Amnesty International, ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth, Defence for Children International Greece, 'ELIX the NGO, Greek Forum of Refugees, Help Refugees / Choose Love, HIAS Greece, HumanRights360, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service Romania (JRS Romania), Legal Centre, Lesvos, Médecins du Monde – Greece (MdM-Greece), Network for Children's Rights, Praksis, Refugee Legal Support, Refugee Rights Europe, Refugee Support Aegean, Solidarity Now, and Terre des hommes Hellas.

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