Following a huge fire at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, the Netherlands is showing a cold heart
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The Frisian capital of Leeuwarden is to hold a demonstration supporting migrants and refugees, and against the Dutch government’s policy on the Moria camp, at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof from 14:00 on Saturday.
The Moria camp on Lesbos, Greece, holds about 19,000 people in stasis: having fled their home countries for a number of reasons to try and re-build their lives in Europe, migrants often end up in a limbo state living camps like Moria. Following a huge fire at the camp (which was originally designed to hold just 3,000 people), thousands of migrants have been evacuated and are living in the open air.
Whilst the fire has brought the camp to international headlines, the situation at Moria has been shockingly bad for several years: too many people packed in together, awful facilities, and no chances for immediate improvement. For lots of people, the camp at Moria is a symbol of the European Union failing its human rights obligations to refugees. So too for Roos Ykeme (from Raard, Noardeast Fryslân), who is organising the demonstration in Leeuwarden on Saturday. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân.
Ykema says that more must be done by rich Northern European countries like the Netherlands, but that often the political will doesn’t match the popular want to help. She’s in an excellent position to speak on the subject, having volunteered for nine months at Moria in 2018. “In one tent you’d often see four families living on top of eachother. Everyone has to stand in a queue for food, there’s no schooling for children, no good medical facilities; and both shower and toilet facilities are lacking”, she says.
According to the group (of which Ykema is a part) that is helping organise Saturday’s demonstration, the Netherlands has to take some responsibility for Europe’s migration policy. The Dutch government, led by the Mark Rutte of the VVD, only wants to take in 100 migrants from the camp. As a proportion of the Dutch population, that’s about 0.0005 percent.
The demonstration will include speakers, and will hold social distancing, with organisers putting crosses on the ground at a safe distance from eachother for people to use.