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New 'Closed' refugee camps in Greece

The #EU decided to provide €250m of funding (£213m) for five new structures on the & #Aegean islands of #Lesbos, #Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros as a reaponse to the overcrowding situation in the camps. While on paper this might seem like a humanitarian investment, but that's not the case as the camps are controlled. “We don’t want the money for new camps – we want it for what we suffered all these years but not to build new camps,” - Kostas Moutzouris, the northern Aegean’s regional governor.

In September, the first 'closed' #camp equipped with barbed-wire fencing, surveillance cameras, loudspeakers, x-ray scanners and magnetic doors was inaugurated in Samos.

The facility also has sports and games areas, as well as shared kitchens, showers and toilets. People are allowed to leave the camp between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day — except for those whose asylum applications have been rejected. Various drones and surveillance technologies are also used to monitor the waters of the Aegean Sea, assisting with the maritime interceptions leading to illegal #pushbacks.

While the Greek migration minister boasts of the "modern, safe, and controlled" camp many activists and NGOs urged the EU and Greek government to abandon plans to restrict the movement of people in the facilities. Protestors were also seen on the streets with slogans "No to European #Guantánamos". "All of this to detain people whose only 'crime' is seeking safety and stability. In addition to the mass rejections of asylum applications, this new center is another symbol of the complete rejection of refugees and of their right to seek asylum." - MSF. The camp has been likened by critics to a jail or a dystopian nightmare. Its message is clear: if Europe-bound asylum seekers reach the country, they are going to be strictly controlled.

However, many aid workers worry that for #asylumseekers seekers already struggling with #depression and #PTSD the highly controlled camp is only likely to make things worse. While the conditions in many of the current camps are deplorable, securitisation and surveillance only serve to further dehumanise people seeking protection.

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