IPB Statement on the Moria Refugee Camp

The Moria Refugee Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was home to more than 13.000 refugees. Despite the fact that it was only intended to temporarily host 3.000 people at a time. That was five-years ago. During the night on the 8th of September most of the camp burned to the ground, and what remains is left uninhabitable.

These are people escaping from incredible levels of hardship, much of which has been caused by wars. This is a situation which has been significantly worsened by Europe’s two-faced approach. This approach consisting of closing their borders and letting refugees drown in the Mediterranean, whilst selling the arms that fuel these conflicts. These people are not just the responsibility of the Lesbos or the Greek authorities. Rather, they are the responsibility of all of Europe. We must provide these people with proper housing, either in mainland Greece or other countries, so that they may live with the proper dignity that the world has promised them!

The 13.000 people who unwillingly called the Moria Refugee Camp their home are now homeless once more. These people are now even worse of then they were before, going from living in an overcrowded refugee camp to being homeless and sleeping on the streets. Many have also lost the few belongings they had to the flames, and are now left poorer than ever.

Many of these 13.000 are families, and over 4.000 are children. Of these 4.000 children, 407 are unaccompanied minors. They are children with limited or no access to healthcare, welfare, and education, whilst remaining highly vulnerable to human trafficking and other criminal abuse. One out of every tenth child in the world lives in a country with armed conflict, how can we not take care of the few that have made it to our doorstep?

If we can find resources for the wars that have displaced millions, we can find the resources required to allow these people to live with dignity and freedom. If we cannot fund both options, fund the latter! Europe alone spent USD 356.000.000.000 on the military in 2019. Even as we channel funds into the Covid-19 response, only 0.13% is going towards supporting vulnerable people. If we reprioritised we could not only fulfil our common responsibility to help refugees and displaced populations around the world, we could prevent their displacement from occurring in the first place.