Earlier this year, the Greek government closed the Idomeni refugee camp. The clearing out of Idomeni, considered one of the country’s largest informal camps, meant that over 8,000 refugees—most of them Syrians and Iraqis—would have to relocate. The Greek government’s plan was to move those who were willing to more formal, state-run encampments near Thessaloniki.
In theory, this appeared to be a sound strategy. Camps were set up in former industrial areas with large abandoned factories in warehouses, which could house a number of refugees. In practice, however, the move has prompted calls for action from human rights organizations, humanitarian groups and aid agencies due to conditions that have been described as abysmal, atrocious and “not fit for animals.”
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