Eleonas camp has a long history. It is one of the earliest camps established in response to the so-called refugee "crisis" in 2015. For more than a month now, the government has been actively splitting the community and forcing members of the same family to move to other camps or elsewhere in Greece. Asylum-seekers have been forcibly relocated to various camps outside of Athens and in other parts of Greece, while recognized refugees have been made to find accommodation on their own without any financial help or housing assistance. Many of our students come from families of mixed asylum-seeking and recognized refugees living in the camp. Moreover, more than 300 children who are registered in a Greek public school next to the camp are now at serious risk of having their education disrupted due to the impending displacement. Lastly, long-term residents of this camp who have not been able to access opportunities to learn enough Greek or English are at serious risk of long-term unemployment in Greece.
We, as an Afghan community, are worried about many things. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, most Ukrainian refugees have been treated well, whereas other refugees are continuously treated as irrelevant and second-class. For example, many long-term residents of the camp, both Afghan and non-Afghan, have had their asylum cases rejected several times. As such, we will be interviewing residents of the camp to highlight their circumstances and human needs and advocate for finding a better and more suitable solution that does not place them at risk. We want to empower our people, enabling them to contribute to Greek and European societies, rather than placing them in a dangerously vulnerable position. We, members of the Afghan community diaspora, feel a strong sense of responsibility for the care, safety, and well-being of members of our own Afghan community everywhere. It has been many years that we have been working with different the Afghan communities around the world, so we felt it necessary to lend our voice to all refugees, not just Afghans, including those vulnerable to further displacement in Eleonas camp.