Refugees live in appalling conditions on Lesbos: Journalist
Yorgo Kirbaki – ATHENS
“There are some unknown people standing guard at the shores of the island. They encounter the refugees coming to Lesbos,” 47-year-old Fotini Lambridi wrote in her feature story published on the news site TVXS.
According to the journalist who said she voiced what she had witnessed on the island, these unidentified people mistreat refugees.
“They grab mobile phones and money from refugees and send them back to Turkey with boats,” she stated.
In 2017, some 18,000 refugees and asylum seekers were living on the island. Today the number is around 5,000 due to three reasons: The harsh conditions due to the pandemic, the transfer of some refugees to the mainland of Greece and the Greek Coast Guard’s preventing refugees from entering the island.
Lambridi’s accusations about these “unidentified people” are not only about “guarding on shores.”
“Last summer, some refugees were taken out of the camps they were living in and sent back to Turkey,” she noted, adding that even officials of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees on the island do not help refugees.
Lambridi, who has been covering stories for daily Ethnos, national TV broadcaster ERT and some news sites since 1995, stayed in Lesbos for a long time to pen down her article for TVXS.
“We saved a lot of refugees in the past, but we cannot help them now,” she said, adding that this is because she fears that she may get accused of being a spy.
According to Article 40 of the new refugee law ratified in the Greek parliament in September, any non-governmental organization that conducts rescue missions for the refugees without the approval of the Coast Guard would face a prison term of up to a year and 6,000 euros of fine.
“Today, with the fear of being seen as a spy, we cannot even give blankets to the refugees,” Lambridi underlined.
Her latest allegation is about “some Dominican female refugees” who had come to the island recently.
“There were even some girls from the Dominican Republic on the island. However, they got lost some time later. I think they became victims of some pimps,” she said, hinting that they might have become a victim of murder.
According to the official data, the number of refugees entering Greece has nosedived by 92 percent in a year.
Some 29,500 asylum seekers reached Greece between January and October in 2020. The number has lowered to 2,400 in the first 10 months of this year.