No respite

Refugee women endure constant risk in journey to Europe, including refugee camps

Syrian refugees arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

For refugee women, the journey to Europe is one without security, basic hygiene, or privacy, and refugee camps such as those in Lesbos, an island off the coast of Greece, are proving little better. At the Moria camp, one of two official refugee reception centers on Lesbos, a woman’s center that consists of a one-room temporary building is staffed by NGO ActionAid. There they do their best to try to deal with a constant queue of women looking for clean nappies or hygiene kits. There aren’t enough showers, there isn’t enough electricity, and many women find themselves sleeping in tents surrounded by men. Safety is not guaranteed. “Women have been subject to violence and harassment,” says Georgios Frantiz, head of Lesbos programs for ActionAid. “Both within the camp and en route.”

According to Amnesty International, women and girls face violence, assault, exploitation and sexual harassment at every stage of the journey to Europe. The British government has provided £16 million to help deal with the crisis in the Balkans, about £4.5 million of it for Greece. The UK’s Department for International Development says its focus is protecting civilians, including women and girls. But to this point, according to Mike Noyes, head of humanitarian response at ActionAid UK, female refugees are being failed by the system.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


Susan Sarandon embeds in Greece, blogging about her work with arriving refugees

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