Syrian mother and daughter Fatima and Maisa stand on the shores of Lesvos next to the remains of a boat. Syrian mother and daughter Fatima and Maisa stand on the shores of Lesvos next to the remains of a boat.

Over the past year, the escalating conflict in Syria and the European refugee crisis has brought the plight of refugees to the world’s attention. As thousands of refugees continue to flee war zones and persecution in search of safety in Europe, and the EU debates how to deal with the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, it’s the voices of refugees themselves that have been absent. So for World Refugee Day we want their voices to be heard.

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More than 250 people in the Greek refugee camps in Lesvos, Athens and Epirus told us about their experiences. Warning: many of their stories are harrowing and upsetting. But we think it’s important that the world hears them. Here’s what they have to say.

“We can’t go back”

“If we sent the girls to school the Taliban would beat them and carve in their leg with a knife. This is what they will do if you send your daughter to school.”

Golpari, 23, Afghan woman, Katsikas Camp, Epirus.

Nader, 33, and his 4-year-old daughter Adileh are staying at Doliana camp in the Epirus Region, Northwest GreeceNader, 33, and his 4-year-old daughter Adileh are staying at Doliana camp in the Epirus Region, Northwest Greece

I want to tell Europe that if Turkey was a safe country, I wouldn’t have risked the lives of my wife and children and put them in the boat to cross the sea.

SOURCE: ACTION AID

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