Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis introduced that his administration is investigating claims of migrant pushbacks on the Aegean Sea following the emergence of video footage displaying Greek coastguard items forcefully placing migrants on a black inflatable life raft and setting them adrift.
“I… take this incident very significantly,” he advised the broadcaster CNN on Tuesday. “It’s already being investigated by my authorities.”
The footage, printed Friday by The New York Instances, exhibits what seems to be masked males on April 11 accosting migrants – together with a child – who had arrived in Greece by boat being bundled right into a van.
Within the video, the migrants are then taken out into the Aegean Sea, transferred to an inflatable raft and set adrift.
Turkish coastguard boats are seen rescuing them round an hour later.
The U.N. Excessive Fee on human rights and the EU house affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson have demanded a full investigation.
The video added to rising documentation by media and rights teams suggesting Greek authorities are concerned in a number of “pushbacks” of migrants – that are unlawful below worldwide refugee legislation.
The Greek authorities has rejected the accusations, and Mitsotakis mentioned that what was proven within the video was a “utterly unacceptable follow.”
The interview came about two days after his conservative New Democracy occasion got here out on high in nationwide elections however did not safe an absolute majority.
However the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights has described the footage as “disturbing” and known as for an investigation and nearer monitoring of the border area.
“Everybody has the best of safety from such remedy,” mentioned Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the commissioner. “An unbiased, efficient investigation is essential.”
“We stay significantly involved about continued and systematic pushbacks on the Greece-Türkiye border, which violate the prohibition of collective expulsions and the precept of non-refoulement,” she added.
Whereas the Turkish coast guard has come to the rescue of hundreds pushed again by Greek authorities, numerous others died at sea as boats stuffed with refugees sank or capsized, particularly within the Aegean Sea the place each international locations share a border.
Barely a month into 2023, Greece’s mistreatment of asylum-seekers reached double digits.
A report by Türkiye’s Ombudsman Establishment mentioned in July 2022 that Greece pushed again over 42,000 migrants since 2020.
Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 16, 2022, the Turkish Coast Guard Command’s Aegean Command Station saved 47,498 irregular migrants in 1,550 separate instances throughout its areas of duty, over 18,000 of whom have been victims of Greece’s pushback coverage.
Athens constantly denies the accusations regardless of plentiful migrant testimonies, media proof and worldwide scrutiny. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ administration, since coming into workplace in 2019, has vowed to make his nation “much less engaging” to asylum-seekers.
The migrant disaster within the Aegean and the broader Mediterranean stays unsolved.