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Save PIKPA: refugee solidarity camp on Lesvos at imminent risk of closure

The PIKPA camp in Lesvos is a unique volunteer and refugee-run informal shelter, which since 2012 has been hosting and assisting thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers among the most vulnerable, including families, victims of torture and LGBTI people. Some of the services are open to both camp residents and the local community, such as the kindergarten where children from the camp and the local area learn together.

On 28 June, the Regional Governor of North Aegean announced in essence that the PIKPA camp will be shut down within 15 days as  the food preparation area is not considered suitable dangerous to public health and environment, following an hygiene inspection. This inspection was carried out during an emergency situation , when the PIKPA camp hosted – in addition to its residents – hundreds of people  who fled the Moria camp following violent clashes in fear for their lives.

This action by the Regional Governor is only the latest threat to the crucial work of the PIKPA solidarity camp. Some local hotel owners have filed a complaint to close the camp on the grounds of disturbance to public order and loss of business.

The move to shut down the PIKPA camp is yet another example of how authorities in Europe are taking steps to crack down on organisations and individuals assisting refugees and asylum-seekers. If the PIKPA camp is shut down, hundreds of vulnerable refugees would find themselves without a shelter and much needed support.

I remember in Moria, I was sleeping sometimes every three days. Since I arrived in PIKPA I slept peacefully. I calmed down mentally. In Moria, I always thought about the negative side of life. During the day, we had fights and during the night rain….
M*, 29 year-old Syrian male asylum-seeker

We need to save this haven of solidarity and hope for refugees and the local community. Send a Tweet to Christiana Kalogirou, Prefect of the Region of North Aegean and urge her to #SavePIKPA