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Table 4 Construct of vulnerability on Lesbos Island, Greece, 2017

From: "I prefer dying fast than dying slowly", how institutional abuse worsens the mental health of stranded Syrian, Afghan and Congolese migrants on Lesbos island following the implementation of EU-Turkey deal

A directive that was applied in April 2017 instructed that vulnerable migrants cannot leave the island before their 1st asylum interview. This is practically translated into a minimum of six months of island restriction.
During October 2017 the population on Lesbos Island had reached 5800 migrants, a number far beyond island’s reception capacity. Due to this, it was temporarily allowed to the transfer of 1100 vulnerable migrants onto mainland lifting their geographical restrictions before the 1st asylum interview. However, immediately after the transfer, the directive of April 2017 was reinstated.
The un-clarity and rumors around the advantages of being vulnerable makes migrants obsessively preoccupied with the pursuit of a vulnerability document. This results migrants living in a state of permanent emergency. Besides this, project staff identify that vulnerability status does not always guarantee a better treatment. For the migrants, it seems that this vulnerability obsession is a copying mechanism which keeps their hope alive, while for the authorities is nothing more than a way to facilitate and manage the overpopulation on the island.