Migrants and refugees caught in limbo tell of violence, insufficient access to medical care, and lack of information in Greek camps

Migrants and refugees stranded in Greek camps report of inadequate living conditions, violence and a lack of adequate food and medical care, according to a new report by ActionAid and Oxfam. 

The joint report, based on conversations with more than 250 people across the Greek refugee camps in Lesvos, Athens and Epirus, highlights an almost total lack of information has led to tremendous anxiety and suffering for people on the move.

Featuring harrowing quotes and photographs, the report puts the voices of refugees at the heart of the crisis as they call on European leaders to comply not only with the letter, but also with the spirit of international and European laws and prioritise family reunification and provide them information, assistance, protection and fair humane asylum procedures, helping them to build a better future in Europe.

Over 50,000 migrants and refugees escaping war and poverty are currently trapped in detention centres, abandoned buildings and makeshift camps across Greece after European countries closed in March the northern border and struck a deal with Turkey to deport back any new arrival  

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Editors' notes

About ActionAid’s work with refugees

ActionAid has been working in response to the refugee crisis in Greece since 2015 – initially starting work on the island of Lesvos and most recently extending our work to camps on the Greek mainland. Our focus has changed from supporting refugees in transit to helping them live in dignity and safety in the new refugee camps.  ActionAid runs women’s friendly centres in the camps helping ensure women have a safer environment, are better able to know about their rights and are helped with some basic needs – including hygiene kits, wipes, soap and nappies. In these safe spaces mothers can breastfeed in private and, equally importantly, talk and grieve with women who share their experiences and receive support and help.

About Oxfam’s work with refugees

Oxfam is providing emergency assistance to people arriving in Italy, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece. Oxfam started its operations in Greece in October 2015, as the humanitarian situation for people arriving from Turkey rapidly worsened. Oxfam started operations working on its core competencies of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Emergency Food Security. Oxfam is currently supporting 3,000 people across six locations across Greece: Kara Tepe on Lesvos, and in the northwest region of Epirus in Katsika, Doliana, Filippiada, Tsepelovo and Konitsa.