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NYT Video: Greece’s authorities abandon asylum seekers in the sea

Greece Says It Doesn’t Ditch Migrants at Sea. It Was Caught in the Act. Video evidence shows asylum seekers, among them young children, being rounded up, taken to sea and abandoned on a raft by the Greek Coast Guard.

According to an exclusive report by New York Times:

On the island of Lesvos  on April 11, twelve migrants, among them men, women, children and an infant were locked inside an unmarked van, forced onto a speedboat, transferred to a Greek Coast Guard vessel and then abandoned in the middle of the Aegean Sea, in violation of Greek, European Union and international law.

They were left adrift in an inflatable emergency raft.

 

 

The asylum seekers had already hopscotched countries for years to escape war in the Horn of Africa. They had barely set foot in Europe, hoping to start new lives, when masked men rounded them up and stripped them of their belongings.

Now they were crammed into the dinghy, rocking on the open waters and trying to shield themselves from the bright sun as Naima Hassan Aden clutched her 6-month-old baby and wept.

“We didn’t expect to survive on that day,” said Ms. Aden, a 27-year-old from Somalia. “When they were putting us on the inflatable raft, they did so without any mercy.”

Their ordeal might ordinarily have remained largely unknown, like those of so many other asylum seekers whose accounts of mistreatment have been dismissed by the Greek government. Only on this occasion, it was captured in its entirety on video by an activist who shared it with The New York Times.

A Times investigation verified and corroborated the footage. We also interviewed 11 of the asylum seekers from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia whom we located at a detention center in Izmir, on the Turkish coast.

The Greek government did not respond to repeated NYT requests for comment. But campaigning on Lesbos last week ahead of general elections on Sunday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis defended his government’s “tough but fair” migration policies and boasted of a 90 percent drop in the arrival of “illegal migrants.”

Read also report “Greece: Government Praise Own ‘Achievements’ on Migration Ahead of Election as Violations Continue, Situation in Closed Controlled Facilities Raise EU Concern and NGO Condemnation,” by European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

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One comment

  1. Harolynne Bobis

    Asylum seekers are the homeless with an international perspective. Greece has been struggling with asylum seekers since the start of the Afghan war (2003) and has been asking for help and resources ever since.
    Race and religion also play a part, I’m sure.

    Thank you for reprinting this article – the eKathemerini did not.