COVID-19: rapporteur shocked by child's death during fire at Moria reception centre, highlights worrying situation on the Greek islands

“I am deeply shocked by the news that a young child died on Monday 16 March 2020 in a fire at the Reception and Identification Centre at Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. Even during the current COVID-19 crisis, Europe must remain humane and respect the human rights of vulnerable persons irrespective of their nationality and migration status,” said Fabien Gouttefarde (France, ALDE), PACE rapporteur on the protection of victims of forced displacement under international law.

“The situation inside the camp at Moria has been a matter of serious concern for nearly a decade. Assembly Resolution 2280 (2019) expressed alarm at reports of sexual violence, exploitation and human trafficking by camp gangs, smugglers and other members of organised crime gangs. Resolution 2118 (2016) recalled Europe's responsibility regarding refugees in Greece. In the light of these resolutions, I welcome last week's adjudication by a Turkish penal court concerning the smugglers responsible for the death of the Syrian child Alan Kurdi who drowned near Bodrum in 2015, a tragic symbol of the deadly plight of so many refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea.”

“I urge the Turkish authorities to refrain from encouraging migrants to enter Greece and the Greek islands irregularly. At the same time, I welcome the readiness of several EU countries to relocate 1600 refugee children from the Greek islands. I call on all member States to do all they can to help people in need and especially refugee children,” Mr Gouttefarde concluded.