Atifa is a girl from Afghanistan who lives in camp Moria. She keeps a diary at the request of the Dutch Refugee Council, Defence for Children and Refugee Foundation. In this way, these three Dutch NGOs attract attention to the degrading circumstances in the Greek refugee camps. This diary describes what Atifa tells the organisations about the things that happen in her life. They are in touch with Atifa on WhatsApp almost on a daily basis.
The situation on the Greek islands and at the Turkish border is getting worse day by day. Refugees are used as pawns, caught in a power game between Turkey, Greece and the European Union. The corona virus worsened the situation which was already intolerable. In the camps, there are hardly any possibilities to slow down the spread of the virus. A catastrophy is pending.
Welcome 500 unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands
Therefore, the Dutch Refugee Council, Defence for Children and Refugee Foundation sound the alarm, together with other NGOs, doctors en paediatricians. Until now, the Netherlands have not answered to Greece’s plea to take over 2,500 refugee children. The three organisations consider this unacceptable. During the corona crisis, soliarity forms the basis of everything we do and who we want to be as a country. From that perspective, let the Netherlands be one of the member states who show solidarity with Greece and the refugees who are stuck there. An outbreak of the coronavirus on the Greeks islands will have catastrophic consequences. Greece cannot solve this on its own, and only through cooperation can we prevent the worst.
Refugees on the Greek isles, like Atifa, have to be transferred to safe, humane and hygienic accomodation, with sufficient medical care. Apart from financial and practical support, Greece also needs solidarity from other EU member states in the form of refugee accomodation. The Netherlands must as soon as possible join the European Commission initiative to start relocating the most vulnerable people, including unaccompanied minors. And offer to take over 500 children, providing them with safe accomodation in the Netherlands.
Coalition of the Willing: municipalities willing to accomodate 500 refugee children
[In spite of the Dutch national position,] A growing group of 145 Dutch municipalities have expressed their willingness to accommodate 500 minors from the islands. By doing so, these benevolent municipalities have given a strong signal that there is indeed sufficient support to solve this issue.
Translation Farsi-Dutch: Mehrdad Gholami
Editing and translation to Dutch-English: Trudeke Sillevis Smitt