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European Parliament called to action for migrant women and children

Several academics and rights activists penned down an open letter to the members of the EU Parliament and the members of the national Parliaments of EU Member States, to call them to act on the humanitarian crisis transpiring on Turkey’s border with Greece and at the migrant reception centers in Aegean islands.

The letter, pointing out to the harsh conditions refugees have to put up with throughout their journey and in reception centers in Aegean islands, calls for the implementation of gender-sensitive policies during the reception of the migrants.

“Due to recent developments in Idlib, Syria, and the unstable EU migration pact with Turkey, we find increasing tensions, harsh measures, and violence against volunteers, journalists, and refugees the recent days on Greek Aegean islands with over 40,000 asylum seekers trapped,” the letter read.

It pointed out to the deteriorating conditions in Moria on Lesvos, stating the overloaded refugee camp is hosting about 20.000 people in a facility for 2,200, and others are staying in adjacent olive groves.

The majority of asylum-seekers are families, women, and children in Moria, according to the officials.

“Almost a quarter of the children and young people in therapy talks had thought about or tried to commit suicide or injured themselves,” European CSOs asserted.

They underlined the reception centers are extremely overcrowded without adequate sanatory facilities, without medical and primary care for the mass influx, without any response and support mechanisms for traumatized or victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Academics Dr. Birgit Wolf and Dr. Dani Kranz, and CSOs such as Netherland-based Broken Chalk Platform, UK-based Human Rights Solidarity, Austria-based Verein Orient Express Germany-based Human Rights Defenders, International Journalists’ Association, and European Institute for Sustainable Development were signatories of the letter. They enumerated their demands as follows:

“EU member states must address the real emergency immediately:

(1) evacuate women* and girls from the Greek islands and the Greek-Turkish border to EU countries NOW
(2) deliver a working gender-sensitive refugee referral and support system NOW
(3) implement a working gender-sensitive asylum mechanism NOW
(4) stop trapping women* and children in horrific conditions without most basic assistance and at permanent risk of violence NOW.”

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