Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Abuse in Greek refugee camps

The BBC Arabic did a call-in show about the sexual assaults and child abuse occurring in refugee camps in Syria.

The British newspaper, the Guardian, is the one who had documented the abuse, and the BBC Arabic was just getting people to express their opinions.

They spoke to some refugees living at the camps right now. Mostly, they spoke to Syrians. The first Syrian man said things like: Yes, I know of little girls who have been attacked. And you know what, really, unfortunately, it's really not the Syrian men doing it. It's the Afghanis. I hate to say it, but it is the Afghanis.

The second man to call in from a camp backed up the first: it's the Afghanis, and the Pakistanis, too.

One dad called in and said: I am here in the camps with my kids, I have a little girl, I go with her everywhere, I never let her go anywhere alone, I'm just doing what I have to do to protect my kids.

What a lot of the people calling in said was: the Greek authorities are the ones in charge of keeping the camps safe, like the Greek police. However, when people go to them to report assaults, the police will say: well, what's the evidence, and we didn't see it happen, and where's the proof? Usually, nothing happens to the criminals.

One Syrian called in to say that he saw an attack on a little girl by a gang, he was there as it took place. He added: these gang men were Iraqi, Syrians, and from North Africa. And even though it happened right in front of me, what could I do? They were all armed.

Someone mentioned they knew an Iraqi family whose little girl had been attacked, and they went to the police, who did nothing. Now that family has returned to Turkey, they didn't know what else to do for their daughter. The person telling the story didn't know anything else about it, just that the family had returned to Turkey.

They interviewed a lady who I think works for the UN about the situation. They asked her, what can you all do? And I think she said that they really had already achieved some success on this issue, at least in Jordanian refugee camps. I didn't catch all the details, but apparently they have a pretty sturdy operation there. As far as the Greek camps, I think she said they are still gearing up the programs, and in the meantime, they would urge that there is more community-based approaches, a better recognition of the problems and making sure men understand they should not behave as brutes. The BBC Arabic anchor said to that: I don't think people are interested so much in community awareness, I think they want an official response.

Finally, they also talked about the fact that for the kids getting abused, there is no counseling, there's no trained staff who can help.

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