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Society

Greek Officials Deny Rape Happened at Lesbos Refugee Center

October 18, 2018

The administration of the overcrowded refugee and migrant detention center on the Greek island of Lesbos said there hasn’t been any incidents of rape despite a report by MSF, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) that sexual violence is prevalent there.

A representative of MSF said in a media report earlier that since January it had treated 23 victims of sexual abuse at the facility, including nine minors.

MSF is “intensely worried by the fact that incidents of sexual abuse and rape that took place in Moria on Lesvos are disregarded and labeled untrue by the administration itself,” the NGO said in an announcement.

The group said it had informed the police of all the incidents involving minors and that it is the responsibility of law enforcement authorities to investigate the claims.

“Our teams see incidents of sexual violence and abuse, suicide attempts, self-harm and serious mental health effects on children, teenagers and adults every day. And this is a fact that cannot be denied by anyone,” MSF said.
In September, 19 activist and human rights groups again said a refugee and migrant detention on Lesbos is unfit for humans with the governor of the region saying it could be shut down unless piling amounts of waste are cleaned up.
There are more than 17,000 refugees and migrants on Greek islands, including more than 8,300 in a former military camp in the Moria center on Lesbos, more than twice the capacity it’s designed to handle and which the BBC said, after a visit with a video crew, said was the worst in the world.

Groups, NGO’s and volunteers have been complaining about conditions for more than two years with people being housed in the centers waiting for asylum applications to be processed after the European Union shut its borders to them and dumped the problem on Greece during a more than eight-year-long economic crisis.

The Lesbos camp sees people packed in shipping containers and flimsy tents in a former military camp where there is frequent violence between ethic groups who fled the civil war in Syria and also from Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. There have been clashes with riot police too.

The NGOs, which included Oxfam and Action Aid, called conditions at Moria “shameful”, but said the same applied to other island camps, the news agency Reuters said in a report. There are centers as well on Samos, Chios, Rhodes, Kos and Leros as Turkey is letting human traffickers continue to operate during a suspended swap deal with the European Union.

“There is no excuse for the … conditions in which thousands of people remain trapped in limbo while they wait out their asylum claims,” the NGOs said.

“Moria … is currently housing almost three times its capacity. The sewage system does not work and filthy toilet water reaches the tents and mattresses where children sleep,” they added.

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