Photo gallery: Perilous hope for refugees heading to Greece

As Europe turns its back on refugees, Neal McQueen turns his camera on them, and those who are helping. He has been documenting the crisis since early October 2015 in his blog

Local and international activists gather on Molyvos beach, Lesvos, Greece. by Neal McQueen

Safe Passage

(Above) 27 February 2016, Molyvos: Local and international activists came together at the beach of Molyvos to show their solidarity with the refugees and to demand a humanitarian approach to the crisis. For this event European citizens came together in cities accross the continent to stand up for human rights and refugee rights.

NATO operation

30 January 6 Petra, Lesvos: About 150 refugees wait to leave the harbour for buses to camp Moria. A Greek navy vessel picked them up as part of the Frontex mission.


7 February 2016, harbour of Molyvos: Two boats conduct rescue training, a collaboration between Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders.

RELATED: Photo gallery 'Forced eviction of French Calais refugee camp'


31 January 2016, harbour of Mytilini: I met Juval, while we were both waiting for the ferry to Turkey. He is from Switzerland and had been on Lesvos for some time. One of his projects was helping build the tea-tent at the Moria refugee camp and giving donations to groups and projects he believes in. He is a passionate photographer and humanitarian. The photo captures the moment before we introduced ourselves. We were waiting on the inside of the harbour. On the other side of the fence were some hundreds of refugees waiting for a ferry to Athens. This girl, maybe 10-years-old, was playing with us and took his camera to take a few shots.

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30 January 2016, The Hope Center Elpis: Volunteers provided toys in the welcome and food area. This young Afghani girl took toys to the terrace to play. Most of these children come from war-zones, so they never had a normal childhood, compared to standards in The West.

Give them bubbles

4 February 2016, Molyvos harbour: Two Members of Clowns without Boarders. These clowns are trying to ease the pain and suffering for refugees and volunteers in the main places of the crisis.

RELATED: 'Humanity adrift', NI editor Hazel Healy travels to Lesvos seeking answers to Europe’s refugee crisis. See our January magazine taking a special look at Migration.

Betrayed and sold

23 February 2016, Victoria Park, Athens: Mohammad is from Afghanistan. He studied engineering, speaks English and worked as a translator for US military forces in his country, as well as for European Union electoral observation missions. Many Afghan translators are promised special US or EU visas because of the risk translators face from the Taliban. However, it is almost impossible to get through the process to secure special visas as it takes many years and there are many bureaucratic steps. The US and EU use ‘agencies’ to employ translators so they are not directly connected to them.

Camp Pikpa

December, 2015, Camp Pikpa, Lesvos: Camp Pikpa has a policy of not allowing photos of refugees inside, as the camp is for children and families. It is one of the oldest refugee camps on the island, full of funky and arty details.

Love is the answer

7 March 2016, harbour of Mytilini, Lesvos: Laura jansen from Movement on the Ground is giving a Syrian girl a warm outfit before she boards the ferry to Piraeus.