I have been working in the international humanitarian and human rights fields since 1997, in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa, mainly with the UN. I decided to take a break and return to Greece in 2015 and while on leave from the UN found myself a volunteer and humanitarian adviser on the refugee crisis in Lesvos. Since July 2015 I have volunteered independently on the beaches at the first response, immediate needs assessment and transporting vulnerable people before buses were put in place. In June-July 2016 I volunteered with a small NGO in the Moria hotspot, supporting in protection monitoring, vulnerability referrals and paralegal work in relation to the asylum application process and with the MSF vaccination campaign in Lesvos. Currently I am assisting voluntarily Kara Tepe municipal camp in Lesvos, in protection and follow up on asylum cases for the refugees residing there.
I have written a number of articles relating to the refugee situation in Greece in Irin News (irinnews.org), the Forced Migration Review (fmreview.org, Issue 51), as well as in Greek dailies (Efymerida Syntakton and Kathimerini; efsyn.gr, kathimerini.gr). From October 2015 to February 2016 I was field adviser for Solidarity Now in Lesvos. In September 2015 I made a presentation on Lesvos at a conference organised by the University of Manchester, entitled ‘Quest for Humanitarian Effectiveness’. In December 2015 I coorganised a round table on Lesvos with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London and was later invited speaker to a Chatham House round table (July 2016). In 2015 I conducted several assessments in Idomeni and Chios island. In March 2016 I led a UNICEF assessment in the camps in the north of Greece (including Idomeni) providing recommendations for UNICEF’s involvement in the response. In October 2016 I toured the Evros region on the land border of Greece with Turkey for a personal appraisal. In early 2017 I conducted an assessment of the urban refugee population in Athens and Thessaloniki on behalf of the Danish Refugee Council.
Since moving to Lesvos, I have provided inputs to researchers from universities, think tanks, NGOs and media. I have been invited to speak on a range of issues revolving around the situation in Greece, at the ODI, Oxford University’s Refugee Studies annual conference, Durham, Amsterdam, Athens and Peloponnese universities. I have an active twitter account (@FotiniRantsiou) and this blog includes all my written work on the refugee situation in Greece.
The posts are my own work and as such should be referenced.