‘Eleven months in Moria, Moria, Moria, it’s very traumatic’, said former Congolese political prisoner Michael Tamba, who was housed in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. By the end of 2018, the camp was housing around 9,000 migrants despite its intended capacity being for only 3,100 people. At the height of Europe’s ‘migration crisis’ in 2015, many of those who made it to Lesbos and other Greek islands after a perilous sea crossing from Turkey were effectively waved through. Around 1 million people moved on to Germany in 2015 alone. By 2018, European Union (EU) member states had imposed strict controls on this kind of onward ‘secondary’ movement. Michael Tamba was effectively trapped on Lesbos, unwilling to go back to Congo, unable to move on and so desperate that he tried to take his own life (Kingsley 2018). The New York Times commented that the terrible conditions in camps such as Moria were actually part of a deliberate strategy by EU governments to deter migrants from moving to Europe. This strategy also included tighter controls on onward movement within the EU as well as efforts to work with non-EU member states such as Turkey to prevent people crossing by sea to Greece.
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