Malakasa’s incident – Raising awareness
The last incident that took place in the refugee reception center of Malakasa on 29/9, where a man was killed during a conflict that started on the previous day (28/9), is a matter of great concern to us. On the one hand the police appeared reluctant to anticipate this tragic event and on the other hand the Site Management seemed inadequate to handle this kind of issues.
The Greek Forum of Refugees was present on the site from the very first moment after this tragic incident occured. The representatives of the communities, the Syrian Roof in Greece and the Afghan community of Greece, tried to understand what happened and to calm down the people inside the camp. We found, as is always the case with the other reception centers also, that the problem lies first and foremost in the inadequate and poor management of the facility issues. The conflict was not between Syrians and Afghan refugees, but it concerned well-known individuals, with a repeatedly offending behavior, who have been reported to the police in the past, but managed to find shelter in the Malakasa Facility.
The communities, members of the Forum, held an urgent meeting without delay to assess the situation, but also to take initiatives in order to address it. First and foremost, we have all tried from the very beginning to stand by the victim’s family. Also, given that many families left the camp in fear. The Syrian and Afghan communities contributed to this. Finally, we immediately sought to communicate and meet with all the authorities and organizations involved. In this context, we informed the Ministry of Migration Policy and made concrete proposals to resolve the issues that lead to such events. We recommended:
- The transfer of unaccompanied minors from the camp to a safer place
- Since the reception center is in a remote place far from the residential area, 24/7 presence of the Site Management is needed in order for the people of the camp to feel safe and secured
- Daily presence of qualified community workers inside the camp to facilitate the communication between different refugee groups and more important, to address their daily issues to the Site Management
- Psychosocial support by experienced and trained professionals to improve the mental health of the refugees and asylum seekers
The recommendations mentioned above consist of urgent measures which must be implemented immediately. The bad living conditions, combined with the location of the camp, which is far from the city, make the people feel uncertain, insecure and desperate for their future.
If there is no real political will to take practical measures regarding social inclusion and integration, then any relevant conversation is meaningless.
The more we do not find effective solutions to the problems that arise, the more we contribute to a suffocating situation for both refugees and local society.