Thousands of refugees have died along European Union borders in recent years. Miles of barbed wire and militarized border controls are forcing migrants seeking safety in Europe to take the most dangerous routes, crossing the Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia and Italy or the narrow straits between Greece and Turkey. Those who succeed face racism, violence, institutional incompetence and, frequently, confinement or deportation.
The systematic closure and militarization of Europe’s borders with its neighbors contrast sharply with the European Union’s rhetoric of democracy and universal human rights.
The CPT Europe regional group is responding to this crisis. In April 2014 an exploratory delegation traveled to the Greek-Turkish border. The delegation met with refugees, civil society organizations and activists to build relationships and develop an understanding of the situation.
As a consequence, the CPT Europe Convergence (annual gathering) agreed to begin a project in the city of Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece, with a local partner then called the «Village of All Together,» now Lesvos Solidarity. The initial project ran for three months in 2014 and in 2015. Since 2016 the project has been expanded, and now runs year-round under the auspices of CPT Europe.