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Greece to investigate alleged refugee pushbacks, says Migration Minister

Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi has announced that he has requested  Greece’s National Transparency Authority investigate the recently reported allegations of refugees’ pushbacks carried out at Greek waters.

Mitarachi made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday about the fatal sinking of a vessel off the island of Chios on Tuesday, which cost the lives of 4 refugees (aged 4, 11, 25 and 28), while up to another 4 people are still missing.

Chios tragedy – Search & Rescue Operation: picture/screenshot from footage by the Greek Coast Guard

“Greece has independent authorities to investigate [such] allegations, including internal ministerial procedures, the National Transparency Authority and the country’s courts, the minister stressed.. He was responding to a media question on whether the Greek government will set up a new independent investigating authority, as requested by the European Commission.

On the fatal incident near Chios island, Mitarachi noted that “it highlights the cruel reality of migrants’ exploitation by criminal gangs in the Aegean Sea.” He added that “unscrupulous smugglers endanger lives on heavily laden, non-navigable boats. Boats without hulls, people – even small children – without life jackets. This is the reality we face every day in the Aegean Sea.”

The minister noted that 22 refugees were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard, of whom 3 are hospitalized. Of the 22 people, 15 came from Somalia, 3 from Sudan and 4 from Eritrea. The victims of the sinking came from Somalia too, he added, “therefore, obviously not fleeing prosecution in Turkey,” he added. The survivors were not facing any risk in Turkey either, he added.

The Greek police and Coast Guard often operate under harsh conditions and in a difficult environment for the sake of the EU as a whole, the minister noted. “Turkish authorities can and must do more to prevent exploitation by criminal gangs at source,” he pointed out, and the European Union must provide tangible support towards this.

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  1. The good Greek government and its Transparency Authority will perhaps deign to take a look at the very recent investigation made by German journalist of the ARD channel on the “refugees that never existed according to Greek police / coast guards”. The subject was aired on the evening news of both ARD & ZDF.

    Just in case, here is the link toward the subject : https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/griechenland-fluechtlinge-pushbacks-101.html

    I look forward to reading the results of the Transparency Authority’s conclusions on what really seems to be a policy of the Greek government.. which the same Greek government claims to be unaware of.

  2. It is obvious – if you want to see – that the Greek government acts this way in accordance with the EU. Humanitarian reasons on behalf of refugees is not the concern of the EU on any of its boarders.