Via the BBC News from Athens based reporter Malcolm Brabant
Last week I posted about the children at a detention centre in Leros who went on a hunger strike to protest conditions there. The good news is that
Their action embarrassed the Greek government, which is under increasing pressure from its European Union partners to improve its treatment of asylum seekers.
Late last week, the boys were visited by Giorgos Costandopoulos, the deputy health minister, who promised they would be moved to better accommodation on the mainland
This is Salman Marufel. He is eleven years old.
His parents bankrupted themselves to raise the $10,000 (£5,000) demanded by traffickers for helping Salman to escape the conflict in Afghanistan, travel along the old Silk Road through Iran and Turkey, and into a rubber dinghy for the short, perilous crossing to Leros
He went without food twice for periods of four or five days.
We wanted the government to listen to our problems. I want to go to Athens and be free. I am really worried about my parents, but they will be happy that I am in Greece
This is Javed Ahmadzi. He is fourteen years old.
We had been here for about 45 days and, every day, we asked the police, the government and the political people what will happen to us. But they didn’t answer. So we were compelled to stop eating to solve our problems
As happy as I am that these children are now to be moved to more appropriate accommodation and I hope they will have the opportunity to start a better life now, they will be replaced by others in the very near future. The problems of the lack of infrastructure to deal with hundreds of people fleeing Afghanistan and Iraq will continue. There is much confusion about whether the funds are there and have “disappeared” or whether there simply isn’t enough. I am looking into this and I am hoping for some real figures at some point.
In the meantime, children put themselves in danger to be heard. This is incredibly disturbing. Greece is obviously having very real problems dealing with this situation but it is totally unacceptable that children should be suffering here for ANY reason whether it’s incompetence, dishonesty, lack of funds or lack of will and compassion.
Enough of the excuses. People are in desperate need of solutions.
Please read the full article which includes a description of one Leros resident’s reaction to Phillipos Olympitis who is trying to help asylum seekers on the island.