Recent events and the criminalisation of humanitarian work

Recent events in Lesbos have made it more difficult to provide humanitarian aid, and three of my friends and colleagues who have devoted their lives to ensuring a safe passage for refugees arriving on the island are currently detained in prison in Greece since their arrests in August this year.

Over 1,000 migrants have died at sea already in 2018. They make these journeys because they don’t have any other choice. This number would be significantly higher if it weren’t for people like Sarah, Seán and Nassos.

This is not about pointing the finger at Greece. For years the Greek islands have hosted a constant influx of thousands of refugees, on the backdrop of an economic and employment crisis. Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon are amongst the countries hosting the largest number of refugees worldwide, while the rest of Europe closes borders and tightens migration policy. The European response to the plight of refugees becomes uglier by the day, and humanitarian aid workers are being arrested and intimidated for helping them.

Regarding the situation in Moria, conditions are worsening day by day. The below article was published today and paints a bleak picture that is difficult to imagine and devastating to experience.


What can you do?

1. Visit Free Humanitarians
Find out more about Sarah, Seán and Nassos, Support their campaign.

2.  Sign This petition which calls on the Greek authorities to issue immediately release while their trial is pending. Humanitarian workers should not be treated as criminals. Their pre-trial detention is not justified, they pose no threat to society.

3. Click here to find out about the European Citizens Initiative to end the criminalisation of humanitarian aid work.
We are a welcoming Europe

4. Read about, and re-open the debate on how the rest of Europe is dealing with the refugee management crisis. There must be another way.


Today I’ll end with a quote from one of my favourite books – Here We Are: notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

It looks big, Earth.

But there are lots of us on here.

So be kind.

There is enough for everyone.



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