Socialist Worker

Refugees suffer as governments collude to keep them out at all costs

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2603

Refugees are prevented from entering Greece

Refugees are prevented from entering Greece


Horror stories from refugee camps in Greece and Libya have revealed the cruelty of the European Union’s (EU) border policies.

Undocumented migrants and refugees face horrific overcrowding in a camp on the Greek island of Lesvos.

On Sunday 350 undocumented migrants and refugees landed on Lesvos and the nearby island of Chios.

An agreement between the EU and Turkey sees Greek police detain refugees as they arrive on the island after making the dangerous sea crossing across the Mediterranean.

They can then be deported to Turkey. And the Greek government, led by the supposedly left wing Syriza party, is currently prosecuting five volunteers who were arrested in Lesvos for helping refugees.

Three Spanish firefighters and two Danish aid workers were acquitted for helping refugees without the permission of the coastguard.

Greek fascist organisations have also used the crisis caused by the government’s cooperation with the EU to stir up racism and attack refugees.

Nazis attacked a rally of refugees and migrants in the town of Myteleni on Lesvos a fortnight ago.

The refugees were protesting against poor conditions in the refugee camp, when 200 armed men attacked the rally shouting, “burn them alive.”

The attackers, including members of the fascist Golden Dawn, threw fireworks, stones and bottles at the refugees, apparently targeting children.

In the wake of the attack, Greek police rounded the refugees up and forcibly transported them to the refugee camp.

Lorraine Leete of the Lesbos Legal Centre told the Al Jazeera news website, “Since November [2017], the attacks have been increasing,”

The EU’s racist border policy is responsible for the ongoing crisis.

Its border force Frontex enforces it, as does the coastguard and police forces of its member states and allies such as Turkey.

An example of this is Britain and Italy’s cosy relationship with Libya.

Both EU states provide resources and training to the Libyan coastguard, in return refugees and migrants travelling to Italy are forced back to Libya.

The consequence of that policy became clear last week.

The Doctors Without Borders charity reported “inhumane” conditions at a detention centre in Zuwara. Some 800 people are held captive there. “The situation is critical,” said the charity’s emergency program manager Karline Kleijer.

Racist border laws mean refugees fleeing war and poverty are thrust back into barbaric conditions.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.