Socialist Worker

Tories leave child refugees to rot as protests hit Greek island of Chios

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2501

Refugees protested on the Greek island of Chios on Monday

Refugees protested on the Greek island of Chios on Monday (Pic: Benjamin Julian)


The government was disgracefully fighting to stop unaccompanied child refugees from being allowed into Britain on Monday of this week.

MPs voted by 294 to 276 on Monday of this week to reject an amendment to the Immigration Bill proposed by former child refugee Lord Alf Dubs.

An estimated 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees are estimated to have applied for asylum in Europe last year.

They include children orphaned by war or split from their families by border controls.

Meanwhile European Council president Donald Tusk and German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkey last weekend to promote the country’s deal with the European Union (EU).

The agreement, strongly backed by David Cameron, makes Turkey the EU’s border guard.

Refugees

Tusk insisted that Turkey was the “best example for the whole world how we should treat refugees”.

He spoke days after the latest reports of Turkish border guards allegedly shooting Syrian refugees dead, including children.

Turkey has also illegally deported thousands of refugees back into Syria. 

Over 7,000 refugees have been rounded up into detention camps on Greek islands, so they can be deported to Turkey under the deal.

Karim, inside the detention centre on Chios

Karim, inside the detention camp on Chios

Karim Toryalai, an Afghan refugee in the Vial A detention camp on the island of Chios, told Socialist Worker, “People come from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan because they have nothing left in their countries.

“They expect a better life in Europe—instead they’ve been put in prison for more than a month now. It’s really shocking.”

People are crammed into containers full of bunkbeds or even made to sleep on the concrete floor.

Karim said, “We don’t get enough food, and what we get doesn’t taste good.

“Recently people saw worms inside the food they’d been given, and we made a protest and all said we wouldn’t eat it.”

Shambolic organisation and refugees’ resistance has made it impossible to pen them all in.

After repeated jailbreaks at Chios the gates have at times been opened and refugees allowed to walk around. But they cannot leave the island.

Karim said, “People broke out because they wanted freedom.”

Hundreds of refugees rallied with Greek trade unionists and anti-racists at the port of Piraeus on Thursday of last week, calling for open borders.

But the clampdown in Greece and Turkey has already begun to drive refugees and migrants onto other routes, often more dangerous.

Around 100 African migrants used a low tide to get around the sea barrier onto Spain’s territory in Morocco last Saturday.

And survivors rescued last week say up to 500 people may have drowned when their boat sank trying to reach Italy from Libya.


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