Since 2015, over 1 million refugees have made the treacherous journey over land and sea to seek asylum in Europe. When they arrive, refugees are crammed into refugee camps to wait for asylum interviews with the authorities. After the 2016 EU Turkey Deal, refugees arriving to the Greek islands are not allowed to leave at least until their admissibility interview is completed or they are classified as vulnerable cases.
The most notorious refugee camp, Moria, on the Greek island of Lesvos, was built to house 2,500 refugees and currently houses over 4,500. These are, among other nationalities, Yemeni, Syrian, Afghan and Congolese men, women and children fleeing the worst circumstances imaginable. Many have been abused or taken advantage of during their journeys. According to a Doctors Without Boarders report, at least 60% of the population of Moria has been a victim of Sexual & Gender Based Violence.
While much of the attention in the West has moved on to other issues the flow of refugees to Europe’s borders continues. In 2018 over 30.000 asylum seekers arrived.
THE SITUATION IN LESVOS
Refugees continue to arrive to the overloaded, understaffed and poorly equipped asylum system in Lesvos. As a result, they are pressed into asylum interviews - which are often the only determining factor for their asylum application - in most cases without any preparation. These are foreigners in a strange land who do not speak the language. They are asked questions about the traumatic experiences that forced them to take their belongings and flee, while living in inhumane conditions and with limited information about the status of their asylum applications.
Proper preparation by professionals is vital for refugees to properly tell their stories.
Psychological examinations and medical evaluations are needed to document their traumas.
Research is necessary to buttress factual claims about the conditions in the locations from which they fled.
FENIX is made up of volunteer professionals from around the world who provide this vital assistance on the ground.