Join with Amnesty International to help Greece’s Afghan refugees
Afghans have limited legal ways out of Greece. Unlike Syrians, for example, Afghans are not eligible for the relocation emergency programme adopted by the EU last year, which pledged 66,400 places in different European countries for asylum-seekers stranded in Greece.
According to a recent UNHCR study, more than 70% of Afghans left because of the war and are by far the second largest nationality of refugees stranded in Greece, after Syrians. But Afghans do not have access to the EU relocation programme, because only nationalities which exceed the average asylum acceptance threshold in Europe can apply, and Afghans do not meet these criteria.
Even for nationalities who are eligible it remains largely an empty promise, with fewer than 3000 asylum-seekers having been accepted by other European countries so far, mainly due to a lack of political will. This static, deadlocked existence is beginning to overcome even the most resilient spirits.
Amnesty International’s efforts
There is a growing sense of despair among Afghans stuck in Greece and tensions are rising. With no legal option to make it to Europe they ultimately have but two options: apply for asylum in Greece or go back to danger in Afghanistan. Most have naturally chosen to apply in Greece but their situation there is dire. The Greek authorities recently announced their intention to close some camps, including the ones at the old airport in Elliniko and two former Olympic stadiums in the same area. They host around 2,000 refugees and migrants in similar conditions. No one in the camps seemed to have information about these plans, only rumours, and they were worried. Refugees stranded in Greece need protection and all European countries must share this responsibility. But whilst Europe continues to ignore this reality and leaves people cooped up, living in inhumane conditions in Greece, Afghans and others will be at risk – this time on European soil.
Supporting Amnesty International
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How you can help
Europe must share the responsibility for offering protection to these refugees. But right now, Greece must urgently assure the safety and dignity of those hosted in its territory. Reception conditions for refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece must be improved now. Call on the Greek authorities to:
- Provide appropriate and safe shelter, adequate sanitary facilities and appropriate medical care to refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Greece.
- Ensure that all vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities or those with chronic illnesses have access to appropriate services and care.