It doesn’t matter what skin colour you have, religion you practice, or what country you come from, coronavirus affects us all. No one deserves to suffer its effects, and our response must leave no-one behind.
But today in Europe, thousands of people are being forgotten. Right now over 42,000 refugees remain trapped on a series of Greek islands in camps designed to hold a little over 6,000 people. Having fled war in their own countries, the majority of refugees are families including thousands of young children and infants. Forced to sleep outside in tents and with a lack of medical care, the compromised health of many leaves them especially vulnerable to infection.
Within these cramped conditions, if the virus breaks out, it would be impossible to stop. Most refugees have no access to clean running water and sanitation is devastatingly low, with one toilet shared between over 100 people. Quarantine, hand-washing or social-distancing are essential at this moment, but in these camps, none of this is possible.
Fighting the pandemic is bringing out the best in so many of us, with people singing to their neighbours and looking after the vulnerable and the elderly across Europe. It must bring out the best in our leaders too.
That’s why Global Citizen is joining forces with the #LeaveNoOneBehind campaign to call on Europe’s leaders to take urgent action to ensure refugees are protected from coronavirus in this time of crisis.
European countries must come together to support the immediate evacuation of the camps and assist in the provision of safe accommodation for refugees. Alongside this, states across Europe need to commit humanitarian support to Greece and other refugee hotspots. They must make sure refugees have the same basic access to effective medical care and protective COVID-19 measures as other people in Europe, and that access to asylum procedures are not jeopardized during the crisis.
When we come together to help each other out, no-one should get left behind. Add your name now to tell Europe’s leaders to act urgently to protect refugees from coronavirus.