On Wednesday May 17, 2023, in a new turn of events, the Closed Controlled Access Centre (CCAC) Commander announced that people with international protection and people with a final rejection residing in the CCAC of Lesvos would no longer receive food and water provided by Greek authorities from May 18, 2023, with the exception of children. This decision was made following the decision to require each person to stand in the food lines in order to receive food, which had already created delays and problems during the distribution.
Currently, approximately 2.350 persons reside in the CCAC of Lesvos. Of these, approximately 500 residents are outside of the asylum procedure, either because they have received international protection (around 350 people) or because they have received a final rejection decision (around 140). Of the 500 people who are excluded, around 200 are children and therefore should continue to receive food.
Due to the lack of integration policies, beneficiaries of international protection are at a higher risk of homelessness and difficulties to access food, job opportunities, the healthcare system, and even documentation. Those with final rejections, including those whose asylum applications were examined only on admissibility grounds due to the consideration of Türkiye as a safe third country for nationals of Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will also be denied food and water, increasing their already existing vulnerabilities.
Nonetheless, this is not the first time that these types of measures are adopted in Greece. In October 2021, it was announced that people who had been recognised as beneficiaries of international protection and people with final rejections would no longer receive food or water in the mainland reception facilities, this decision caused severe distress, and put already vulnerable groups at even more risk. These actions on the mainland lead to dozens of NGOs and civil society organisations raising the alarm at growing hunger amongst refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Clearly the Greek Government continues to ignore the appeals of the civil society.
Fenix wishes to express our deep concern regarding the latest policy implemented by the Greek Government. No one, irrespective of their legal status, should be deprived of food and water. Food insecurity as a policy shall never be accepted.
Thus, Fenix calls the Greek authorities, especially the Greek Government, to ensure that all persons residing in state-run or managed facilities, including the CCAC of Lesvos, access the most basic human needs: food and water.