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Effective aid for migrants in Greece

We the undersigned petition the council to live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention of Refugees signed by the United Kingdom. Due to Erdogan’s recent decision to open borders and use the refugee situation for political gain, more than 40,000 [1] extremely vulnerable asylum-seekers are currently on the Greek Aegean islands. Oxford should play its appropriate part in this humanitarian crisis by offering immediate asylum and housing for at least 12 refugees (calculated based on the population of Oxford versus the EU, i.e. 0.03%). Other cities, e.g. Berlin, have made similar offerings [2]. As long as war and suffering in their home countries persist they could be housed in vacant buildings, guest houses, temporary buildings or with volunteering households (with financial support).

The situation for migrants coming to Greece from Asia and Africa was already terrible and violence against them is now escalating. Organised groups of armed fascists block the entrance to camps. Locals stop boats from docking at the island of Lesbos. The Greek coastguard fires shots at dinghies in attempts to push them back [3].

This situation is the consequence of Erdogan’s decision to open the borders of Turkey. Borders that were sealed by the EU in 2016, when a 6 billion EUR agreement was signed with Turkey to prevent refugees coming mainly from Syria to enter the EU. The EU has spent money to outsource the violation of rights of refugees, but it has now been forced to find a solution to a problem that has postponed over the past five years.
The Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis has increased border controls, has changed the asylum laws, so that the right to apply for asylum in Greece has been suspended for a month. This new policy is completely illegal as it violates the Geneva Convention but EU officials do not seem to be interested. On the contrary, when Eric Mamer, the chief spokesman of the President of the EU Commission Von der Leyen, has been asked on whether is it legal to fire rubber bullets at asylum seekers, his answer has been:

“I would say that you can’t ask a theoretical question like that, it all depends on the circumstances and are Greek authorities, in their task of protecting the border, to decide what are the appropriate ways of reaching that objective”[4]

We encourage the Council to call on the UK government to make a clearer stand and condemn the attacks on refugees at the Turkish border.

This petition is in line with similar initiatives by other cities [5] and the open letter calling for the decongestion of the Aegean islands by many different humanitarian and social organizations [6].


On reaching 1500 signatures A full council debate will be held.

This ePetition ran from 10/03/2020 to 09/04/2020 and has now finished.

Final results
Option Count Percentage
Agree 140 Political party colourPolitical party colour 100.0%
Disagree 0 0%
Don't know 0 0%
ePetition results graph

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To find out more about the issue, see the supporting information, provided by the lead petitioner, attached to the e-Petition.