Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Violence at Borders

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Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Violence at Borders

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ddp.gr | 6 October 2021|

Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Violence at Borders

Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of unlawful returns of migrants to Turkey by law enforcement officers and others, 29 human rights and humanitarian aid organizations said in an open letter released today. These returns are carried out mainly through pushbacks and collective expulsions and are often accompanied by violence.

Parliament should exercise its oversight authority to investigate the allegations of these illegal acts by state agents and proxies on Greece’s sea and land borders with Turkey. The parliament’s inquiry should examine whether any illegal acts identified are part of a de facto government policy at odds with international, European, and Greek law.

Over the years, nongovernmental groups and media outlets have consistently reported the unlawful return, including through pushbacks, of groups and individuals from Greece to Turkey by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men, who appear to be working in tandem with border enforcement officials.

Reports from 2020 recorded multiple incidents in which Greek Coast Guard personnel, sometimes accompanied by armed masked men in dark clothing, unlawfully abandoned migrants – including those who had reached Greek territory.

They abandoned the migrants at sea, on inflatable vessels without motors; towed migrant boats to Turkish waters; or intercepted, attacked, and disabled boats carrying migrants.

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