Rights Watchdog Calls For Urgent Efforts To Relocate Migrants From Blaze-Hit Moria Camp

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th September, 2020) A prominent human rights group on Wednesday called on European countries to enhance measures to accommodate about 13,000 migrant left homeless after a powerful blaze hit the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and bring them to safety.

The overcrowded Moria facility was destroyed by a huge blaze earlier in September, leaving nearly 13,000 migrants without shelter. According to Greek media, the fire could have been caused by arson. The fire broke out after reports emerged that 35 residents of the camp had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

"European governments should step up urgent efforts to relocate nearly 13,000 men, women, and children left homeless by fires inside Moria camp on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press release.

The rights group recalled those affected already had limited shelter or access to food, water, sanitation facilities and health care before the incident, while Greek security forces used teargas and stun grenades against these displaced people protesting the dire living conditions.

"They [European leaders] also need to fundamentally rethink the failed and inhumane policies that led to the creation of a sprawling, unsanitary, and dangerous refugee camp in an EU country, rather than just building a replica of the same thing." HRW said, citing its senior crisis and conflict researcher, Belkis Wille.

According to the organization, both Athens and Brussels should develop a humanitarian response plan to support migrants in the aftermath of the fires that will focus to the needs of asylum seekers, who are at risk, including children, people with disabilities, pregnant woman, among others. The plan, HRW notes, should address not only immediate needs for shelter and food but also provide for swift transfers to appropriate accommodation on the Greek mainland and to other EU countries.