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Inhuman conditions

Greece, sexual harassment in the refugee camps

Interview with Ghias Aljundi, human rights defender and volunteer in Athens and the island of Lesbos

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The idea of interviewing Ghias Aljundi, Syrian UK naturalized citizen, human rights consultant in the Middle East with focus on freedom of expression, was born during the summer camp dedicated to migrants, organized by Amnesty International in the island of Lampedusa in which, at the beginning of September, the activist has attended a meeting aimed to illustrate refugees’ situation in Greece. Ghias has described the inhuman conditions in Greek refugee camps where, currently, he gives humanitarian assistance denouncing serious human rights violations against little girls.

The islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos are border lands and have become the doors of Europe where migrants arrive with makeshift boats and the hope of a better future. Their goal is to leave again to Northern European countries, in order to rejoin with their relatives who have succeeded and already moved to the old continent. Aljundi, former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, volunteers in Greece: “In the past I worked with major human rights organizations and now I am a freelancer running projects on freedom of expression and media development in the Mena (Middle East and Northern Africa) region. Currently, I volunteer in Greece to help refugees who are stuck in the country for the last 8 months”.

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Ghias has spent some years in the Syrian prisons because he fought Assad regime: “I was detained in Syria between 1988-1992 because of my journalistic activity and human rights work. I was arrested in the coastal city of Tartous by the political secret services. I was released as part of a general presidential amnesty together with thousands of political prisoners”.

Later Aljundi started his activity in human rights field and international solidarity projects: “I went back to the university and graduated as an English literature student. After that, I was unable to work as opponents to the Syrian regime were not allowed to work”.

Aljundi is a human rights defender. Working with NGOs has made him able to help victims of human rights violations. “That’s why I work in this field. It’s the human motive inside of me”, Ghias says. Currently he is volunteering in Lesbos and Athens offering practical help to refugees who are stranded in Greece.  Aljundi used to receive boats landed at the beaches of Lesbos where people arrived haggard and scared, after a long route through Middle East: “Now, I take refugees to hospital, I try to find families with little babies houses or accommodations. The treatment of refugees in the camps and, in general, in Greece is very bad. Refugees are living in bad conditions. Big number of the 60000 refugees stuck in Greece is living in tents without any medical attention or proper food. There is no education for children as well. People are living without any hope. There are no asylum or relocation policies. People do not know what is happening to them”.

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