A DRC staff in Moria camp, Lesvos where DRC is present with a protection and legal assistance capacity

Third anniversary of the EU-Turkey Statement: Out of sight, out of mind

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the EU-Turkey Statement, NGOs including the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) reiterate the need for a change in policies and practices that trap refugees and migrants in the Greek hotspots in inadequate, unsafe reception conditions.


Three years after the EU-Turkey Statement, we still witness a recurrent and endless cycle of overcrowding, substandard living conditions and extremely poor access to services, despite the number of people in need of protection on the Greek islands remains high.

In a joint letter signed by 25 NGOs, including DRC, the organizations are calling on European Union leaders to: 

  • agree urgently on fair and sustainable arrangements for sharing responsibility for asylum seekers arriving in Europe, that will ensure member states’ ability to provide decent and dignified conditions. 
  • urge Greece to immediately suspend the restriction of movement that traps asylum seekers to the Greek islands in squalid and dangerous conditions, putting unfair pressure on the islanders.
  • ensure Greece spends the available EU funding on essential services such as medical and legal services.
  • support the planning of a fair and efficient asylum system and a long term and sustainable reception and integration plan for refugees in Greece.

Find the full letter here.

DRC launched its operation in Greece in November 2015 and is present on Lesvos with a protection and legal assistance capacity, as well as with an operation on the mainland.

Related publications:

DRC research: Fundamental Rights and the EU Hotspot Approach (Oct 2017)

DRC position paper: Stocktaking of the EU-Turkey Statement (Oct 2016)