Friday

24th Nov 2017

Death and riots at EU asylum hotspot in Greece

A woman and her young child have died on Thursday (24 November) at an asylum detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos, triggering riots and clashes with police.

The two were killed when a gas cylinder exploded while cooking at the Moria camp, a so-called hotspot initiated by the EU commission where asylum seekers are screened and registered.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The deaths provoked a protest among other asylum seekers who have been stuck at camps described as open-prisons. The police clashes injured six asylum seekers, according to Greek media.

The latest violence and death follows similar incidents in other camps on the Greek islands with reports emerging of suicides, gang rape, sexual abuse of small children, and fights.

Fires had already ripped through Moria camp, home to around 4,000 migrants, in late September. Mounting frustrations over the slow pace of registration, along with rumours of mass returns to Turkey, reportedly factored into the blaze.

Last week, assailants had also tossed petrol bombs and large stones at tents at the Souda camp in Chios. The attackers are thought to be linked to the Golden Dawn, a Greek neo-nazi party. The unrest appears to have been triggered, in part, after four Algerian teenagers and one Iranian allegedly stole fireworks from a local shop.

The Belgium government, meanwhile, repatriated experts working on the islands due to the widespread insecurity. Belgium's far-right asylum minister Theo Francken, in an interview with a Belgian newspaper last week, announced he had ordered their return.

The EU commission has in the past said it cannot be held responsible for the deteriorating security among the overcrowded camps because they are managed by the Greek government.

'They are going to get angry'

"A large number of people on the islands are not processed and is creating and fueling tensions on a daily basis," said Vincent Cochetel, the director of the Europe branch of the UN’s refugee agency, at an event in Brussels in September.

"You have on a daily basis people who commit suicide, burning things, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians are not processed on the islands," he said.

Some have not have their application claims fully registered since the launch of the hotspots earlier this year.

"If you keep people in that sort of condition they are going to get angry," he said.

Feature

Samos: Inside Greece's 'nightmare' EU hotspot

Asylum centres on the Greek islands have borne the brunt of implementing the EU-Turkey deal. The centre on Samos island has struggled more than the others.

Children's rights at risk in EU hotspots

Lack of lawyers and other staff has caused logjams on asylum claims, which particularly hurt children, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency told MEPs.

Interview

David Miliband: EU should take over 500,000 refugees

David Miliband heads the US-based International Rescue Committee, an international aid organisation. In an interview with EUobserver, he says the EU should take over 500,000 refugees.

EU monitoring of Libyan coastguard done by Libyans

The EU trains the Libyan coastguard and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure they respect the human rights of migrants. But the mechanism only requires Libyans to file reports about themselves.

EU monitoring of Libyan coastguard done by Libyans

The EU trains the Libyan coastguard and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure they respect the human rights of migrants. But the mechanism only requires Libyans to file reports about themselves.

Interview

David Miliband: EU should take over 500,000 refugees

David Miliband heads the US-based International Rescue Committee, an international aid organisation. In an interview with EUobserver, he says the EU should take over 500,000 refugees.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition