In the last period, the lives of most of us are changing quickly and everyday, due to the novel coronavirus that caused the outbreak of a pandemic. We won’t share numbers or statistics, as the situation is in constant change – it’s enough to say that the virus has found a foothold on every continent except for Antarctica. In some countries really close to Croatia, as Italy, the government calls to “stay at home” and not to go out if not necessary. As in every crisis situation, the class divisions and differences in treatment come out and draw a clear line between the mass population and the privileged.
Our thoughts and messages of support go to the ones that have no “home”: the last ones, homeless, people on the move, or the victims of domestic abuse that in their homes cannot be safe. Our support goes to those workers in the factories that are obliged to expose themselves and be at risk.
Yesterday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called for the urgent evacuation of the people trapped in the overcrowded Greek camps. „In some parts of the Moria camp there is only one tap with running water per 1300 people and soap is unavailable. Families of five or six people sleep in spaces no larger than 3m²”, explains Doctor Hilde Vochten, MSF Medical Nursing Coordinator in Greece.
Implementing the recommended measures for the protection against the spread of the virus (e.g. frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with a large number of people, self-isolation in case of infection or suspected infection, etc.) is impracticable and impossible in these conditions.
There are currently 42,000 asylum seekers in five hotspots on the Greek islands. Although calling for an evacuation in the midst of a pandemic can create additional fear, forcing people to live in crowded camps is dangerous and can have unprecedented consequences. „The Greek government and EU Member States should act immediately and move most of the asylum seekers to acceptable facilities until it is not too late,“ the MSF stated.
In other European countries along the way to the EU, many refugees live in conditions where they are particularly exposed to the risks of coronavirus. Both in the designing and the implementation of the decisions regarding this pandemic, it is necessary to seriously address their needs, along with evacuations from all hygienically inadequate and crowded facilities. […]
Another example of the criminalization of solidarity comes from the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. While last week activists and organisations active in BiH warned against the mounting pressure from the local authority and police, the Tuzla Canton Police Administration warned citizens not to give money to refugees who sometimes beg on the street or sell scarfs. The Canton Police Administration seized the opportunity to once again criminalize both migrants and the local community, which is trying to address the refugees’ needs, that are systematically ignored by the state. It is important that citizens do not give in to this kind of criminalization, which counteracts the principles of solidarity and humanity.