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Guest Lecture by Alasdair Tyrrell upon return from Lesbos

On Thursday 3 December 2020, Mr Alasdair Tyrrell, addressed students from the LLM in European Law, the LLM Advanced Programme in European and International Human Rights Law and the LLC course in European Asylum Law. Mr Tyrrell, a UK lawyer by training, had just returned from Lesbos, Greece, where he volunteered at a refugee camp.

For six weeks, he worked with Movement on the Ground, a Dutch foundation motivated to change the game of humanitarian aid for refugees. Together with volunteers and refugees, Movement on the Ground runs several projects in and around the refugee camps in order to improve living conditions, maximise their skills and increase their connection to their host community in Greece.   

Tyrrell described how the recent fire in camp Moria had left many without shelter, but also how a new camp had been constructed relatively quickly. He described that there was no lack of food or basic supplies in the camps, but that the sanitary conditions left much to be desired. He also confirmed that the overpopulation of the camps and the fact that there seems to be no solution in sight, had led to tensions on the island, not just within the camps but also between the local population and the refugees.

Tyrrell’s recounted many memorable encounters and playful interactions between the volunteers and the residents of the camps. He highlighted the refugees’ need for human connectivity: to be heard and to be seen. Tyrrell warmly recommended volunteering, raising awareness or making a donation.

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