News20 January 2021
Press Release - European Court of Human Rights Examines Living Conditions in 4 EU Hotspots
Chios, Kos & Lesvos, January 20, 2021
While the situation on the East Aegean islands received particular attention after the outbreak of the fire in Moria, it has subsided more recently. At the same time, living conditions on the islands continue to be catastrophic. People have little access to medical care, wash facilities, and proper shelter, and are regularly forced to sleep in tents that flood easily in the winter rains. Particularly vulnerable people are not exempt from these conditions. Even in times when the Covid-19 was and is on the verge of an outbreak in the camps, members of at-risk groups continue to live exposed to these conditions without protection.
The European Court of Human Rights has now asked the Greek government questions regarding the treatment of a total of eight people, all of whom were living in one of the so-called EU hotspots and had pre-existing medical conditions or were particularly vulnerable.
In total, the Court connected 8 cases involving Chios, Kos, Lesvos and Samos, i.e. 4 out of 5 EU hotspots. These cases therefore demonstrate the structural illegality and impossibility to implement the hotspot approach and border procedures in a way that does not violate human rights. This should also be taken into consideration by decision-makers in the EU, as the proposal on the ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ puts a focus on precisely these border procedures and the externalisation of the responsibility for refugee protection that led to the given situation.
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