Nerea Melgosa: "We will increase aid to Zaporeak to try to ensure that the rations they cook reach all the refugees of Kara Tepe II"

2023 September 15
  • The Minister for Equality, Justice and Social Policies takes stock of her visit to the Basque kitchens in Lesbos and announces that they will study the signing of agreements with two NGOs on the island to promote projects for women and children

“Humanitarian corridors, safe transits, respect for human rights and compliance with international agreements for persons requesting international protection. We are not asking for anything that is beyond the possibilities of the authorities or that is unreal. Treating refugees with dignity only requires the will.” The Minister for Equality, Justice and Social Policies, Nerea Melgosa, takes stock of her trip at the beginning of September to the kitchens of Zaporeak on the island of Lesbos, announcing some of the commitments with which she has returned from Greece.

The institutional trip that Melgosa made together with the Director of Migration and Asylum, Xabier Legarreta, aimed to reinforce the presence of the Basque humanitarian organisation on the island, in addition to seeing its work on site.  “It was important for the Greek authorities to see that Zaporeak has the support of Basque institutions, but also enormous social and media support,” she reveals. 

Personally, the minister acknowledges that she has returned "strongly impacted" by the experience and testimonies of refugees she collected during her visit to the Kara Tepe II camp, where more than 3,000 people live together.  “I helped in the kitchen, served and went to distribute the food. But, it was really hard and indescribable to see that, after so much effort, we could only feed 2,200 people. How can you look at those who have not been reached? It was hard, really,” she says.

Therefore, Melgosa has announced that the 2024 budgets of the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies will include an increase in the subsidy it grants to Zaporeak which was 200,000 euros in 2023, although she has not specified the amount until studying the accounts of the entire Department. “We will increase aid to try to ensure that the rations they cook reach all the refugees in Kara Tepe II.”

Along with this, the minister says that she returns from Greece with more commitments and points to the signing of collaboration agreements with other NGOs to promote programmes that help women and also the schooling of the thousand minors who currently live in the camp.

The visit to the Kara Tepe II camp allowed her to learn about the reality of a group of Afghan women fleeing violence and Taliban machismo. This group explained to the minister the living conditions of the women in the camp and their dangers. There they work with the Diotima Centre, which provides them with psycho-social help. The Department of Melgosa is studying the most appropriate formulas to sign a collaboration agreement, in which the Human Rights Directorate and Emakunde could be involved.

Alongside this, Nerea Melgosa also highlighted her meeting with the NGO When We Band Together, which provides a safe and anti-stress space for the women, boys and girls of Kara Tepe II. “We have opened a line of communication with Stavros Mirogiannis, its director, who was also director of Kara Tepe I, to collaborate with his organisation. We will try to close an agreement through the Directorate of Families and Children to improve the schooling of children,” she said.

Along the same lines, and in an interview with Onda Vasca, the minister stated: “We are going to increase Zaporeak's budget and we will try to work with them to establish more institutional relations. We also want to work with the international organisations that work there from the point of view of the feminist approach, and with the children we will try to bring the Aukerak Suspertzen programme to the island of Lesbos.”

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Politicians attending the event