Target: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
Goal: Stop the attacks on war refugees seeking asylum in Greece.
Amnesty International staff witnessed a violent attack on war refugees seeking asylum on the Greek island of Kos the first week of September. War refugees believed to be from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked by approximately 25 people brandishing baseball bats. The attackers shouted slurs, threatened Amnesty International staff and other activists, and screamed that the refugees should go back home. Kos riot police did not intervene until the attacks became physical, and many of the refugees on Kos are infants and small children.
The number of refugees crammed into inhospitable conditions on Kos is approximately 4,000, and many children are separated from their parents or on the island without guardianship. Refugees have been forced to stand in the hot sun for days waiting to be documented so they may continue on to Greece. Many of the refugees are left to sleep outside, and Kos officials have closed public restrooms, leaving the war survivors with no toilet and wash facilities.
Greece has been in the midst of an economic crisis for several years, and the frustration of the Greek people is only mounting with the added burden of the war refugees. Regardless, both the Kos authorities and the Greek government must step up and ensure the safety and well-being of all war refugees.
As a member of the European Union, Greece is entitled to emergency funding that will help set up a proper registration system and temporary accommodations for the refugees as they make their way through Kos and into Greece. The EU must stop the Greek attacks on war refugees and support the member nation’s effort to document and house the asylum seekers humanely.
Dear Presidents Juncker and Tusk,
Amnesty International has just witnessed a tragic attack against Syrian, Afghani and Iraqi war refugees on the island of Kos. The attackers not only went after refugees with baseball bats, they also attacked Amnesty International staff and other activists. Kos police did not attempt to prevent the attack, only intervening after the violence had already begun.
Tragically, there are thousands of infants and children in the midst of this violence, and the conditions in which the refugees are forced to live are horrific. People have no shelter, are left to sit in the sun all day and sleep outside at night, and the public restrooms have been locked so the refugees do not have access to them. This must be stopped.
The European Union must support Greece in its efforts to document and house war refugees. The country must be provided with emergency funds and guidance to set up a proper documenting system and adequate housing and facilities for those who have fled to Kos. Please stop the attacks on the war refugees seeking asylum. Please intervene and help Greece now.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: UK Aid