Concerning one of our cases pending at the European Court of Human Rights, the Court has rejected our request for interim measures to evacuate a woman and her new-born baby from the Hotspot on Samos.
Despite clear warnings from medical NGO’s such as MSF as well as our report on the current situation in the Hotspot and the inadequacy of the few measures taken by the Greek Government, the Court seems to be of the view that these measures were sufficient to protect the asylum seekers in the Hotspots against the appearance and spread of COVID-19.
There are currently more than 6500 people living in the camp on Samos. The government has installed two containers in front of the camp with space for 4 persons to be isolated in case of an infection with the virus. In this regard, it should be repeated that experts have stressed the impossibility of containing an outbreak of the virus, once it has reached the camp.
Nevertheless, the Court is of the view that “a possibility of hospitalization and isolation of any eventual COVID-19 case has been organized” and considers this to be enough. How fast the virus spreads within an overcrowded refugee camp can be seen in Ritsona where the entire camp has been put in quarantine after 20 people were tested positive.
Although the Court stresses the actual availability of protection supplies such as masks, gloves and disinfectants “is essential” and although the Government had admitted that the stocks in Samos were close to zero, it is found sufficient that extra supplies have been requested.
Moreover, the Court “further trusts that the Government continue their efforts to find solutions to reduce overcrowding in the R.I.C.s and camps”. We recall that the camp has been overcrowded by 10 times of its official capacity at least since summer 2019. So far, the Government has not taken any considerable steps to reduce the amount of people residing in the camp.
We continue to call for an immediate evacuation of the people from the direly overpopulated hotspot on Samos.