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Contemporary Prisons

Angelos Tzortzinis | Greece

Young migrants are seen at a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, on September 26, 2019.

More than 13,000 people - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - which a big number of them are minors, live in Moria , an overcrowded migrant camp on the island of Lesbos. A former Greek military base, it opened in 2015 as a centre to register arrivals but is now at four times its capacity. The migrants there speak of rain, cold and illness, lack of food and safety, dirty toilets and water shortages.

As a Greek, I have myself lived through the unprecedented and painful transformation the country and these people have undergone, be it as a result of the economic crisis or the refugee crisis. The process have profoundly affected me as well, as I am a part of this change.

During these years tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty-stricken homelands have become stranded in Greece since the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2016. More of 90.000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, after the closure of the borders.  International attention has shifted elsewhere, and local communities too have turned against them.

I have been trying to focus behind the obvious problem and help these well deserved stories be told.

Angelos Tzortzinis

As a Greek, I have myself lived through the unprecedented and painful transformation the country and these people have undergone, be it as a result of the economic crisis or the refugee crisis. The process have profoundly affected me as well, as I am a part of this change.

During these years tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty-stricken homelands have become stranded in Greece since the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2016. More of 90.000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, after the closure of the borders.  International attention has shifted elsewhere, and local communities too have turned against them. 

Today, more than 24,000 people - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - which a big number of them are minors, live in Moria , an overcrowded migrant camp on the island of Lesbos. A former Greek military base, it opened in 2015 as a centre to register arrivals but is now at four times its capacity. The migrants there speak of rain, cold and illness, lack of food and safety, dirty toilets and water shortages.

Moria camp is Europe’s largest migrant reception centre.

Also around 4500 refugees and migrants live at the refugee camp of Samos Island. They have been forced to settle around the island's so-called hotspot, a former prison which, behind its steel fences reinforced with barbed wire, offers space for just 650 people. On February, 2020, Greece's new conservative government decided to build closed camp on the Samos island for up to 7000 people, a plan which the local authority and community are rejecting outright.

The refugee crisis prompted the biggest movement of people across Europe since World War Two and remains one of the most important stories of our generation, with many untold facets. It will change the face of Greece and Europe for years to come, and deserves to be documented in as much depth and detail as possible. I would like to draw the world’s attention to these people.

C: +30 693 42 19 128

E: angelos.tzortzinis@gmail.com

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