Situation of Refugees in times of Corona-crisis

June 4, 2020

In this uncertainty situation with a lot stress, worry, anxiety where a lot of plans of important activities has been changed, the human being is strongly suffering in this pandemic time. When in one part of world, people are stuck in their homes, in other parts still we have people who are trying to defend themselves escaping from different kind of war conflicts. They want to stay alive by trying to find safety place because of being forced to escape from their homeland places. 

EAP Working Group for Refugees(WGRf) are very much involved in monitoring of refugees’ mental health wellbeing being who are living in camps. Checking the information from different international agencies, we are interesting to know refugees’ mental health and wellbeing statement while they are receiving different kind of psychosocial treatments. With members of WGRf, we have regular contacts about refugees situation and especially for care givers who are offering psychological aid in the camps. The result from contacts that WGRf had in different meetings, decided to organize the 1st European Conference for Refugees Issue, that is planning to be held in October, 17-18th 2020 in Pristina, Kosovo. 

We hope that this Conference will organize in side inviting many international participants by being present live in Pristina.

This plan was before COVID-19 restrictions. We understand, that it is to risky to hold the EAP meetings and the conference this October in Pristina. To many uncertainties. So we agreed to postpone the conference for the EAP Meetings in October 2021 in Pristina.

 But, some news reports show that the situation with refugees in some camps is miserable, dangerous and an alarm situation, especially during the pandemic situation. According to some agencies “At least 110,000 people currently live in migrant facilities – 40,000 of them in overcrowded camps on five islands….”

… Aid groups have urged Greece to evacuate the camps, warning the risk of the fast-moving virus spreading among people living in squalid conditions is high and containing an outbreak in such settings would be “impossible”.

… Coronavirus is also raising problems for refugees beyond public policy, as unscrupulous landlords have sought to up their rents.

A good news was, that a group of 50 unaccompanied migrant children between the ages of five and 16, were sent to Germany. Another dozen had departed for Luxembourg. This happened after spreading of coronavirus among of refugees who have been stuck in Greek camps, where the conditions are unsanitary and difficult for elementary basic needs. The Greek Government is scared that the situation in camps can easier miscontrol and spread to the citizens.

The report of IRC shows that recently Greece is host approximately 50,000 refugees in Greek Islands where their teams are providing job training and psychosocial support. But still, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), “it is shameful that people seeking safety and protection arrive on Europe’s shores only to be threatened by the European forces”. 

It seems that nobody is looking for people fled from their living country and more humiliating, by injuring their dignity, and elementary human rights. Moreover, refugees living in camps are attacking for misuse and extinction. And all these are happening in front of Europe, who are proclamation of human rights basic elementary need.

All these reports that we want to share with psychotherapists of EAP are not to criticize our colleagues from Greece or other countries, not at all, but only to raise our worry of ethical responsibility of psychotherapists in EAP. We appreciate the huge engagement of Greek frontliners (psychotherapists, social workers, nurses, doctors, volunteers) to facilitate the situation the best they can.  We are aware that this is political issue in European level, and we are not a political organization, but a professional body who is responsible for mental health and wellbeing of mankind. 

WGRf cannot agree by staying apart from situation what is happening with refugees in the camps around of Europe. Especially, we are on the side of care givers who are investing a lot of professional engagement serving psychological, social, counseling and psychotherapeutic aids for refugees in camps. 

We will go on to deliver actual information with the help of our NAO’s and support an exchange by mailing or probably by a chatroom for this issue.

On behalf of WGRf

Enver Cesko 

May, 2020.