Charity reveals children in Greek migrant camps are suicidal

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Internally displaced Somali children sit inside their general shelter at the Al-cadaala camp in Mogadishu. Reuters/Feisal Omar

Save the Children, an international charity organisation, revealed on Thursday that children in Greek migrant camps are making suicide attempts and are using drugs to deal with “endless misery.” Their living conditions have reportedly made them feel like animals and objects.

The report from Save the Children states that the children stuck in Greek migrant camps are mentally deteriorating. The condition in camps has led to self-harm, aggression, anxiety and depression.

A staff member of Praksis, Save the Children’s partner organisation, testified that the kids’ living condition have made them lose hope. It makes them feel like animals and objects.

"One of the most shocking and appalling developments Save the Children staff have witnessed is the increase in suicide attempts and self-harm amongst children as young as nine,” the report, shared by Reuters, said. It was also indicated in the report that a 12-year-old boy has set up his suicide attempt upon seeing others trying to do the same.

According to the organisation, the situation in overcrowded camps is both "degrading" and "detention-like.” Asylum-seekers are forced to fight for their needs like food, warm water, health care, blankets and a comfortable place to sleep.

The kids have reportedly lost hope that they will be able to come home. Of at least 66,000 refugees stuck in Greece migrant camps, an estimated 26,400 children are mostly Syrian per the Guardian.

Their situation is said to be taking away their dreams as young people and turning them into aggressive children who want to destroy properties and themselves. "They say that they feel bad, then someone offers them a pill and promises it will make them feel better, and then it does and they start taking drugs,” another Praksis member shared.

In January, Labour peer Alf Dubs visited Thessalonik, the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Greek Macedonia. Dubs went to see the city’s emergency refugee camps and witnessed families shivering in tents. He said he thought the Jungle was bad enough until he felt the lack of hope among asylum-seekers in Greece, which he said is more depressing than anything he saw in Calais.

In 2015, several refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan reached Europe, crossing over to Greek islands. The EU-Ankara deal has forced the flow to be stopped last year. The deal indicates that anyone who crosses into Greece without documents in hand can be deported to Turkey if they are not qualified for asylum in Greece.

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