During the past two years, 1.3 million people fleeing conflict and persecution have traveled through Greece in search of safety and a better life in Europe. With the closure of the Balkan borders and the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement in March 2016, refugees can no longer continue their journeys.
The majority of refugees who have traveled to Greece are by sea.Over half of them are women and children desperate to find a safe place to live or to reunite with family members scattered by war. Having endured years of conflict and months making the dangerous journey to Europe, often in the hands of smugglers, they now find themselves stranded for the foreseeable future.
The legal path available to refugees in Greece—either asylum in the country or relocation elsewhere in Europe—is a long one: The relevant authorities don’t have enough staff to process asylum claims quickly. Refugees have been forced to wait in temporary camps, with limited access to crucial information and available services. The psychological toll is immense. Many suffer not only from the trauma of witnessing the death of loved ones, but also the profound sense of powerlessness of a refugee’s life in limbo.