Greek authorities are failing to provide adequate protection for women and girls living in state-run, EU-sponsored facilities for asylum seekers on Lesvos, Human Rights Watch has warned.
In a series of interviews with HRW, conducted last month at Moria camp on the eastern Aegean island, 25 asylum-seeking women and girls, as young as 13, described harassment, the threat of gender-based violence and health risis, the organization said in a press release on Friday.
The organization found that the conditions resulted from insufficient security, poor hygiene and sanitation facilities, and failures in the system to identify and address the needs of vulnerable people.
“There is no excuse for failing to meet even the most basic standards for protection of women and girls almost two years after the EU-Turkey deal entered into force,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at HRW.
“The risks to women’s health and safety in Moria are dire, and as winter arrives, they will only get worse,” she said.
Rights groups have repeatedly urged Greek authorities to end their “containment policy” of confining asylum seekers to the Aegean islands.
In March 2016, the EU and Turkey reached a deal to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey to Europe, while countries across the Balkans sealed their borders.
Barring emergencies, asylum seekers are banned from traveling to mainland Greece, where better conditions and services are available, until their asylum process has been completed.