During our activities on Lesbos we have always devoted ourselves to a change in the long-term. Offering a shower and a momentary escape from the daily life in the camp has a huge impact on individual lives. However, we’d prefer our work to be unnecessary, with refugees being able to take a warm shower in their own safe houses.
That’s why we have signed numerous petitions, supported actions and we were present at demonstrations and gave speeches, constantly having conversations with all sorts of parties. Also on Lesbos, during the weekly NGO-meeting organized by the UNHCR, we have time and again asked critical questions about the developments in camp Moria. We have never received an answer, nor have our questions been recorded in minutes. Various attempts to take a stand as NGOs together have failed. To our huge disappointment all this hasn’t caused a change of policy and improvement of the volunteers’ situation. In fact, the situation has only deteriorated, both for the refugees and the Greek population. Since the fire in the old Moria, the start of the pandemic and the violent turmoil on the island the necessity of a humane policy has been more manifest than ever.
Now that we cannot longer be present on Lesbos we can carry out an old plan. If the political will is lacking and it’s not possible to create a humane life for refugees by signing petitions, organizing demonstrations and all sorts of actions, in that case a different method is called for. A society that doesn’t treat people with dignity loses its own dignity. We want to protect that dignity. That’s why we have started a judicial process.The fires in Moria haven’t changed the mission – the restoration of human dignity – but have definitively shaped the foundation. The board considers the new course of ShowerPower as inevitable, irreversible and serving the mission.
The Netherlands have signed all sorts of treaties about human rights, refugee rights, rights for children etcetera. These treaties are meant to protect (vulnerable) people and to make sure that governments can be held to account when the policy or the implementation of it are not humane. Because of our constitutional state the government hasn’t supreme power and can be tested at all times. This has nothing to do with our political preferences, but this is how our democracy works. Superb! We’re going to ask the judge to test the current policy against all those various treaties. Is the policy according to the agreements? Is the Dutch state jointly responsible for the bad conditions in the camps and the illegal push-backs in the Aegean Sea? If so, what could the Dutch government do differently? Link SP goes to court? Yes!
Organizing the ShowerPower house on Lesbos was a lot of work and was very demanding for the volunteers and supporters. On the other hand, it was very practical and visible. It’s hard to take pictures of the process we’re now involved in. It takes a lot of patience, research, consultation, writing and eventually (possibly) a judicial process. Moreover, these actions are time consuming.
ShowerPower is supported by a large network of donors, former volunteers, sympathisers and colleague NGOs, who all are of the opinion: enough is enough. They also will enable us to create a broad public support and to acquire the necessary funds.
Right now, at our lawyers’ advice, we can’t give many details about the process. Of course, as soon as we can you’ll hear more about it. But one thing is certain: during this process we really need your help and support.
Fortunately, there are still a lot of organizations that are committed to provide the necessary care in the camps and we will continue to support them. However, this is a completely new area for us. As long as we don’t deal with this new situation in a structured way, we keep on repairing punctured tires. The cycle path is full of nails. It has to be nail-free.
We need money for this process. We are assisted by good lawyers and, depending on the results, we will take further steps. We start in the Netherlands but possibly we’ll force a change in the European policy by means of the European Court of Justice. We do hope we can continue to count on your support.
If you want to know which other parties we support financially? Click here.