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AFP
May 13, 2021

Council of Europe urges Greece to stop pushback of migrants

AFP
May 13, 2021

ATHENS: 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 on 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.