Council Of Europe Urges Greece To Stop Pushback Of Migrants


Council of Europe urges Greece to stop pushback of migrants

Athens, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th May, 2021 ) :The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner has urged Greece to stop pushing back migrants trying to enter the country from Turkey and to abide by its human rights obligations in dealing with refugees.

In a letter published Wednesday and addressed to three Greek ministers, Dunja Mijatovic said Greece could no longer "simply dismiss allegations of pushbacks despite the overwhelming body of evidence".

"I urge you to put an end to these practices and to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of pushbacks and of ill-treatment by members of security forces," she said in her letter.

The plea was addressed to Greece's minister of citizen protection, the minister of migration and asylum and the merchant marine minister.

Mijatovic noted that when migrants arriving to Greece from Turkey through land or sea borders are rebuffed without proper procedure, they have no recourse to apply for protection against such violations.

She said despite a 2018 report by her agency concerning credible allegations of summary returns to Turkey, charges of pushbacks persist.

"In such cases, member states cannot satisfy themselves that they are not sending them back in violation of, for example, Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the refoulement prohibition in the UN Refugee Convention," Mijatovic said.

"Moreover, the way in which these operations are reportedly carried out would clearly be incompatible with Greece's human rights obligations," she added.

Greece has consistently denied accusations of turning back migrants coming from Turkey without due process despite evidence to the contrary by NGOs and media outlets.

Mijatovic in her letter also alluded to detention camps in Greece, saying they interfered with migrants' right to liberty and harmed their mental health, especially concerning children.

"I urge the Greek authorities to reconsider the closed nature of these centres, in order to ensure that the regime applicable to these facilities safeguards the freedom of movement of their residents, in line with the relevant Council of Europe standards," she said.

Since becoming one of the main gateways into Europe for migrants and asylum seekers in 2015, Greece has built dozens of detention centres where overcrowding is common.