Alleged pushbacks at Greek border are persistent and systematic

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Alleged pushbacks at Greek border are persistent and systematic

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oxfam.org| 17 June 2021|

Alleged pushbacks at Greek border are persistent and systematic

Since 2017, there has been an increase in reported pushbacks ranging in the hundreds to the thousands. Despite increased international pressure and outrage, alleged pushbacks continue to persist.

They are systematic, and those who speak out against them are criminalised. The latest issue of the Lesbos Bulletin by the Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam looks at this practice and includes a pushback testimony.  

K, a young political refugee, fled her home country to avoid persecution and torture for expressing her political views. In her own words: “We fled in order not to be [unjustly] imprisoned; in order to not be wronged and tortured.

I didn’t want to pass my youth in prison because I was unfairly convicted.” 

K. said the Greek authorities arrested her, despite her asking for asylum and held her, and other people entering Greece, in an old building for nearly a day in the cold without food or water, with ‘nothing’. While waiting, she realised they would be sent back.

She commented on how organised and systematic it was: “It’s not the first time. They are doing it [in a] very organized [manner].” 

This testimony is an example of the Greek authorities' systematic approach to pushbacks, which repeats itself in dozen others like it.

The Greek Ombudsman confirmed this, noting the ‘constantly repeating patterns’ of pushbacks, both at Greece’s land border in Evros and in the Aegean islands.

Investigations into alleged pushbacks are not carried out, even those with hard evidence which show people contacting the Greek authorities before being pushed back to Turkey.  

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