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Urgent Action outcome: PIKPA refugee shelter closed down

The eviction of the PIKPA refugee shelter in Lesvos was carried out in the morning of 30 October. Unaccompanied minors had been transferred to mainland Greece ahead of the eviction. The 74 remaining at the shelter, including adults and families with children were transferred to the small camp at Kara Tepe, run by the Lesvos municipality.




Greek authorities carried out the eviction of the PIKPA refugee shelter in the morning of 30 October. The eviction had been initially scheduled for 15 October, but it was postponed following widespread national and international mobilization. The authorities failed to provide due notice to residents and police forces were present in large numbers during the eviction operations. 

PIKPA, a self-organised refugee shelter operating in Lesvos since 2012, had been hosting and assisting thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers. PIKPA and other facilities, such as the Kara Tepe camp, run by Lesvos municipality, have stood in contrast to the “Moria model”, symbolizing an alternative approach to the reception of asylum-seekers and refugees, based on a sense of community and solidarity, offering safe and humane conditions to their residents. Following the devastating series of fires that destroyed Moria camp, refugees and asylum-seekers in Lesvos were transferred to a temporary camp, recently established on the island. This camp, however, only offers a temporary solution, does not provide adequate living conditions for its residents nor adequate safeguards to those in vulnerable situations.

All unaccompanied minors residing in PIKPA were taken to mainland Greece ahead of the eviction. Amnesty International and other NGOs continued to put pressure on the authorities to ensure that the remaining 74 residents of PIKPA, including adults and families, were protected and granted adequate living conditions. On the day of the eviction, they were transferred to the small camp at Kara Tepe, where conditions are generally better than in the new temporary camp. However, the Government has announced that the Kara Tepe camp will too be closed by the end of the year, which leaves former PIKPA residents and those in Kara Tepe in a situation of distress and uncertainty. 

The eviction of PIKPA comes at a time when concerns about the conditions in the new temporary camp in Lesvos are growing and NGOs in the country face increased restrictions. 

Staff and volunteers at PIKPA are grateful for the support and mobilization of Amnesty International activists. 


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