UN raises alarm over violence at Turkey-Greece border

Greece must take immediate action to end the violence against migrants and asylum seekers at the border between Turkey and Greece, an independent UN human rights expert said on Monday, expressing alarm at reports of violence at the hands of some Greek security officers and unidentified armed men.

“I am very concerned about the reported pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants, which constitutes a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsions and the principle of non-refoulement,” said Felipe Gonzalez Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. On 1 March, Greece suspended for 30 days, asylum applications for anyone who crossed the border irregularly, which prompted the Special Rapporteur to urge the country to “immediately reverse its decision”, saying it “has no legal basis in international human rights law”.

Migrants who managed to cross into Greece were allegedly intercepted by Greek border guards, detained, stripped, looted and pushed back to Turkey.  And alleged excessive use of force seems to have led to deaths and injuries, including the death of a Syrian asylum seeker.

“The right to individual assessment is the cornerstone of human rights and refugee protection”, warned Morales. “It cannot be put on hold”.He pointed out that returning people without due process “will inevitably result in cases of refoulement to situations where they may face the risk of death, torture, ill-treatment, persecution or other irreparable harm”.The Special Rapporteur also raised the alarm over an increase in hostility and violence against humanitarian workers, human rights defenders and journalists working at the border and in the Greek Aegean Sea.  “Greece has the responsibility to ensure that migrants and those assisting them are protected from threats and attacks”, he said. “The authorities should condemn promptly and ensure accountability for any such acts.”

The independent UN expert said he had shared his concerns with the Greek Government along with the relevant European Union institutions and the Government of Turkey.

Similar articles

  • Romania pours €18m into NATO facilities south of Bucharest

    Romania pours €18m into NATO facilities south of Bucharest

    Romania’s Ministry of Defence has contracted construction works worth €18m million for a temporary military base, north of Bucharest, Profit.ro reported. Infrastructure capabilities according to NATO standards will be developed in a local military facility in Tunari, and will include accommodation spaces, administrative buildings, roads, alleys and platforms for the storage of technology, perimeter and interior fencing, according to the specifications.

  • Serbia revokes coronavirus media control decree after criticism

    Serbia revokes coronavirus media control decree after criticism

    Serbia's government decided to revoke a decree giving it control over information on the coronavirus outbreak, following protests and the detention of a journalist for writing about a major hospital lacked protective gear and properly trained staff, news wires reported. PM Ana Brnabic said the decree, enforced on Saturday, would be revoked on Thursday "so not a shadow could be cast on our work."