Greek police are under the international justice scope after a simple rounding up of illegal migrants, mostly Middle Eastern refugees, transformed into a act against human rights. Last night on the Island of Kos, about one thousand migrants who arrived in Greece to seek refuge from their war torn nations were captured and locked up in a stadium overnight. According to the New York Times, these migrants were locked away with no food and very limited access to water. Why did this happen? Reportedly, the migrants had to be detained because they were found to be too numerous and therefore were unmanageable.
Due to the ill-handled overnight lock up, many migrants needed medical attention once they were released from the Greek stadium. To aid them, Doctor Without Borders reportedly came to their sides. The health issues they found were mostly of exhaustion and extreme hunger. Spokeswomen Kourafa testifies to this fact.
“People are exhausted and hungry and frustrated/ We see people fainting. We see people with medical problems because of the situation. There are not enough water or toilets. There is no provision for food.”
Because the Greek system allows migrants to come in a seek refuge, the migrants incarcerated were not actual illegal. In fact, many migrants were simply awaiting final papers from the Greek government. Inside the stadium, Julia Kourafa accounts describes the protests that pursued as a result of the migrants’ mistreatment by the Greek police.
“The migrants actually were protesting about the fact that they have been pushed from one place to the other and they were waiting for papers.”
Yet, instead of being provided with documentation that would allow them to travel freely and legally through Greece, and be free from the conflict in their home countries like Syria and Iraq, the one thousand migrants instead were met with violent beatings from police and tear gas once they tried to fight back. Reportedly, Greek police found such measures necessary as they are completely out numbered by refugees on Kos.
It has been estimated that there are over 6,000 refugees wandering on the Island of Kos and everyday, hundreds more arrive in small boats from the Middle East. Though admitting that the migrants were mistreated, Kourafa understands the police struggle, as well.
“There was an influx of migrants and refugees on the island of Kos in the recent days which was, let’s say, unprecedented, meaning that there are more than 700 to 800 people per day. And that was not manageable by the police authorities.”
[Image via CBA]