Batı Trakya

Pushing back refugees to the seas cause concern


A recent announcement from a non-governmental organisation called ‘Refugee Support Aegean’ (RSA) addresses concerns about the increase in the ‘push back’ of asylum seekers at sea and the danger that this poses to their lives. 

The announcement comes as there has been an increase in the number of cases in asylum seekers trying to reach Greece have been pushed back to Turkey from Greek territory and land waters in the recent months, and that the coastguard units (LS-ELAK) have taken dangerous and aggressive actions to prevent asylum seekers from coming to the Greek islands.

‘RSA and PRO ASYL also recall the 2014 tragedy where eight children and three women from Afghanistan lost their lives when their vessel sank near the island of Farmakonisi during a reported attempt of push-back and a dangerous towing operation by the Greek Coast Guard. A complaint has been filed by the survivors against the Greek authorities before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the case is still pending (Safi and others v. Greece)’, the announcement added. 

Another case recalled in the announcement is again from 2014. It is reminded that an asylum seeker died as a result of a shooting during the pursuit of the relevant Coast Guard units (LS-ELAK), and that this case is still pending at the European Court of Human Rights (Αlhathib κ.λπ. κατά Ελλλδας).

RSA and PRO ASYL are urging Greek authorities and Frontex to act in accordance with their obligations arising from international law and EU law and to save everyone in danger at sea.