Greece: Pushbacks and violence against refugees and migrants are de facto border policy

Greece: Pushbacks and violence against refugees and migrants are de facto border policy

23 June 2021, 00:01 UTC

 Greece: Pushbacks and violence against refugees and migrants are de facto border policy 

  • Amnesty International reveals new evidence of torture, ill-treatment and illegal pushbacks of refugees and migrants to Turkey 
  • People apprehended and detained up to 700km away from the border before being transferred and returned at the land border with Turkey 
  • Amnesty calls on the EU border force Frontex to suspend or withdraw its Greek operations 
  • Spokespeople available  

Greek border forces are violently and illegally detaining groups of refugees and migrants before summarily returning them to Turkey, in contravention of their human rights obligations under EU and international law, new research from Amnesty International has revealed. 

The report, Greece: Violence, lies and pushbacks, documents how the Greek authorities are conducting illegal pushbacks at land and sea. It focuses primarily on unlawful operations in the Evros region, at the land border between Greece and Turkey.  In February and March 2020, Greece violently pushed back refugees and migrants in response to Turkey’s unilateral opening of the land borders. By documenting incidents that occurred in the aftermath of those events, from June to December 2020, this new research demonstrates that human rights violations at Greece’s borders continue and have become an entrenched practice.  It is clear that multiple arms of the Greek authorities are closely coordinating to brutally apprehend and detain people who are seeking safety in Greece, subjecting many to violence, then transferring them to the banks of the Evros river before summarily returning them to Turkey, Adriana Tidona, Migration researcher for Europe at Amnesty International

“Our research shows that violent pushbacks have become the de facto Greek border control policy in the Evros region. The level of organization needed to execute these returns, which affected around 1000 people in the incidents we documented, some numerous times and sometimes via unofficial detention sites, shows just how far Greece is going to illegally return people and cover it up.” 

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