Δευτέρα, 14 Οκτωβρίου 2013


By NEOnline|AC

Amnesty Internation is accusing Greece of "blatantly ignoring their obligations" in law by refusing migrants, often fleeing from the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.
A new report, Frontier Europe: Human Rights Abuses on Greece's border with Turkey (pdf) shows how the Greek authorities use 'push backs', simply turning away groups of migrants at their border, refusing them the right to have their cases dealt with or challenge their eviction.

These stories of push-backs are extremely alarming,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Our research indicates that the Greek authorities are regularly returning people, blatantly ignoring their obligations under international and EU law and endangering people’s lives.”

Amnesty International has spoken to nearly 30 people in Greece and Turkey who, in at least 39 separate instances, reported having been stopped trying to cross the Aegean Sea or the northern land border along the river Evros. The accounts cover the period from August 2012 to May 2013 and amount to an average of one push-back a week,
Amnesty quote the case of B, a 17 year old boy who they say escaped from Afghanistan with his younger siblings, is just one example. B attempted to travel from Turkey to Greece by boat with his family, but was caught and beaten by the Greek coast guard.
The coast guard then damaged the migrants’ boat, removing the motor and leaving all 42 people, including children, adrift at sea. They were eventually rescued by the Turkish coast guard.  
Since August 2012 more than 100 people, including women and children, have drowned trying to reach Greece.
Other EU countries appear only too happy for Greece to act as their gatekeeper. But they turn a blind eye to the policies and practices used to keep people out. Even in these difficult times for Greece and millions across Europe, there is no excuse for what is happening at the Greek borders. The EU must act now to stop these human rights violations happening on its doorstep,” said Beger. 
Immigration has been a factor in the rise of the Far Right in Greece, whose 'Golden Dawn' party, which is openly fascist, gained seats in the Athens parliament with a campaign, backed by violence, against migrants.
The sea route has become more popular after Greece built a fence across the land border in the area and increased the number of border guards.
In 2012 Greece had the largest number of migrants seeking th enter the EU, at a time when the country has been experienceing deep cuts in goverment spending and services, leaving Athens to cope with increasing numbers of migrants seeking asylum or entry into the EU when finance is declining.
In addition a new agency to deal with migrants only began in June 2013 and is only partially functioning.
The amnesty International findings concur with similar reports from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
Amnesty International is calling on the Greek authorities to stop push-backs immediately, investigate allegations of collective expulsions and ill-treatment and prosecute those involved.