Appeal from European doctors: bring refugees on the Greek islands to safety.
As doctors in Europe, we call on the leaders of our governments and of the European Union to bring refugees to safety immediately.
In recent years, the refugee camps on the Greek Islands have become overcrowded. The corona pandemic that threatens to overwhelm the camps will have catastrophic consequences for the refugees, the Greek inhabitants and the rest of our European society.
It is an illusion to think that a COVID-19 outbreak in these camps could be kept under control. 40,000 people are living on a few square kilometres. There is only a handful of doctors present. Many children and adults are already ravaged by physical and mental traumas.
If Europe looks away now, this situation could escalate to become a medical disaster and this would represent a serious violation of the norms and values of European healthcare.
It is our duty to prevent this from happening, for the refugees, for the Greek people who have been in limbo for years, and for Europe as a whole.
As doctors, we have sworn an oath promising to provide medical care to all people, irrespective of their personal background. As European doctors, we are obliged to do everything possible to prevent this medical catastrophe.
The leaders of the European Union also made a promise four years ago that each country would take in a fixed number of refugees from Greece and Turkey. Not a single EU country has complied with this agreement. It is not enough to move the refugees to camps on the Greek mainland; these camps are also overcrowded.
We call on all leaders of the EU to comply with this agreement from 2016, and to take refugees into their countries now to prevent a medical disaster on European territory.
Signed and initiated by
Sanne van der Kooij, gynaecologist (Netherlands)
& Steven van de Vijver, GP (Netherlands)
Prof Dr. Gerlach Cerfontaine - President of VvAA, Association of Dutch Medical Professionals.
Marcel Levi - University College London Hospitals
Prof Dr. Louise J. Gunning-Schepers - University Professor at University of Amsterdam, Crown Member of Social and Economic
Council of the Netherlands, Chair Schiphol Group
Prof Dr. Hans Romijn, CEO AUMC
Ivan Wolffers, emeritus professor Amsterdam UMC
Prof Dr. Maria vd Muijsenberg, professor Radboud University and Pharos
Emma Bruns, surgeon and writer
Prof Dr. Maurice vd Bosch, CEO OLVG hospital
Prof Dr. Peter van der Voort, professor UMCG and Senator D66
Prof Dr. Henry Ascher - Professor at University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Do you want to help us hold politicians accountable for a solution to the
life-threatening situation on the Greek islands?
6841 doctors supported and signed #SOSMoria. In total 48295 European citizens signed our distress call.
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
The letter is available in all
21 European languages.
Send the letter to
Nawras Al Taky & Dyar band have created a beautiful #SOSMoria song for the refugees and to support the distress call. Since the 3rd of April there have been SOS signals organised by different EU countries to raise awareness.
Want to join us?
Organise your own SOS
signal to raise awareness
for the refugees.
About our urgent appeal
TO DO EVERYTHING
#SOSMoria is an urgent appeal initiated by GP Steven van de Vijver and gynaecologist Sanne van der Kooij. Care workers from throughout Europe are supporting them.
Alongside their regular work as doctors in the Netherlands, Steven and Sanne also worked in Camp Moria on Lesbos. Together they wrote an urgent opinion piece about their experience there for Dutch daily newspapers Trouw
and NRC. Many other doctors and care workers realise that time is running out. They are appealing to European leaders to intervene NOW.
#SOSMoria was shared and mentioned in European newspapers The Guardian (UK), De Volkskrant (NL), Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Swiss), EuObserver (Brussels), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), Irish Times (Ireland), De Wereld van Morgen (Belgium), Kauno Diena (Lithuania) and Espresso (Portugal).
Dutch current affairs programme Brandpunt+ posted an article and short video about the situation on the islands, in which Steven describes the situation in Camp Moria on Lesbos.