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Κυριακή, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2018

[EN] GREECE: OPEN LETTER: SYSTEMATIC POLICE VIOLENCE AND ILLEGAL DEPORTATION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN EVROS

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για OMCT


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OPEN LETTER TO MR. ALEXIS TSIPRAS
PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE

                 Via Email: mail@primeminister.gr


Geneva, 20 September 2018

Re: Systematic police violence and illegal deportation of asylum seekers in Evros

Dear Prime Minister,

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the leading global network of civil society organisations against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the world, is writing to you to express its grave concern and to call upon your intervention in response to the following situation in Evros region.

The OMCT has been informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), a member of the OMCT SOS - Torture Network, about the alarming amount of reported cases and allegations of ill-treatment and illegal deportation of asylum seekers in the Evros region of Greece.

According to the information received, there is on-going and systematic use of violence against asylum seekers by law enforcement officers in the Evros border area with Turkey. The Greek authorities are detaining and arresting asylum seekers before sending them back to Turkey. People in need of international protection are being illegally deported without allowing them to file for asylum all the while destroying their personal items and documents.

According to the cases reported, migrants in Evros are regularly subjected to brutal beatings and deplorable conditions of detention that amount to ill-treatment and torture. Their subsequent expulsion and transport are characterised by further ill-treatment such as being crammed into small vans and overcrowded boats, risking their lives once more. Victims of these expulsions include vulnerable migrants such as pregnant women and minors.

Photographic evidence and video recordings have been provided by civil society organisations depicting injuries sustained from severe beatings. The images of 13 persons arrested by the Greek police near Mavrokklisi, Evros on 11 August 2018 show severe signs of violence. Moreover, their phones, passport and money were taken from them before being illegally deported to Turkey. Pictures of a woman from Syria who entered Greece from the Evros area with her three children before 11 August 2018 allege that she was severely beaten before being summarily deported to Turkey.

International rights bodies have criticised Greece in the past for failing to address allegations of police abuse and have called for complaints mechanisms to investigate abuse allegations. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited Greece from 10 to 19 April 2018 and documented 15 cases of ill-treatment. The delegation of the CPT received several consistent and credible allegations of forcible removals of foreign nationals by boat from Greece to Turkey at the Evros River border by Greek police, border guards or paramilitary commandos.

The OMCT reiterates that collective expulsion is a practice prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Accordingly, the OMCT respectfully urges the authorities of Greece to:

  • Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all migrants and asylum seekers in Greece; 

  • Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the events described above in the Evros region in order to identify all those responsible, and sanction them as provided by the law;

  • Ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, including adequate compensation and rehabilitation, is granted to the victims for the violation of their human rights;

  • Conduct human rights trainings for the law enforcement officials, including police officers and border guards;

  • Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards, in particular ensure the respect of the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments Greece has ratified, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In the hope that the concerns expressed in this letter will receive the attention they deserve, we remain at your disposal for any further information.

Yours sincerely,


Gerald Staberock
Secretary General
OMCT


Copies to:
-       Minister of Justice Mr. Michalis Kalogirou, Email: grammateia@justice.gov.gr
-       Minister for Citizens Protection of Greece, Mr. Olga Gerovasili, Email: minister@mopocp.gov.gr
-       General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights, Ms. Maria Yannakaki, Email: ggdad@justice.gov.gr

20/9/2018