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Samos residents slam Greek PM's indifference to migrant violations

Samos residents slam Greek PM's indifference to migrant violations

Anongovernmental organization (NGO) criticized Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ migrant policy and his indifference to the ongoing rights violations by illegal pushbacks off the island of Samos.

Publish Date: 15/11/21 07:42
reading time: 5 min.
Samos residents slam Greek PM's indifference to migrant violations
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In a letter titled “Which Samos did you visit?” the Samos Open Platform, which consists of the island’s local and foreign residents, questioned Mitsotakis’ indifference, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported Sunday.

Greek has frequently been criticized for frequently violent pushbacks of migrants trying to reach its shores.Noting that the residents of Samos witnessed a group of irregular migrants aboard a boat off the Murtia coast, the platform said they saw the same group being pushed toward Turkey on inflatable rescue boats in April 2020. They added that a similar incident took place near the village of Kalithea, and they saw the migrants on similar boats being pushed toward Turkish waters at night.

Referring to other instances of the Greek coast guard’s pushbacks, the platform said Greek authorities even pushed a nine-month pregnant woman toward Turkish waters, where she immediately gave birth after the Turkish coast guard’s rescue operation.

“Some people abandoned a woman about to give birth in the middle of the sea on a dinghy. Some people instructed this and some people are covering this up,” the letter said.

The platform also questioned Greece’s official count of migrants reaching the island, as it asked if authorities transfer migrants to a safe place to register them and what type of procedures are being implemented in this regard.

Last week, Mitsotakis angrily defended Greece's controversial migration policy in a heated debate with a reporter who accused him of "narcissistic abuse" during a press conference with his Dutch counterpart in Athens. The reporter echoed the call of many rights groups and organizations urging Athens to stop lying and admit to the systematic policy of "cruel and barbarian pushbacks.

Hundreds of people have died at sea as many boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants fleeing war and persecution, looking to cross into Europe to start new lives.

Hundreds of people have died at sea as many boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants fleeing war and persecution, looking to cross into Europe to start new lives.

Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without migrants being given access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the EU of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.

Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that dictate that people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.

Various human rights organizations have also documented and criticized Greece's violent migrant policies.

In a report published in September, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) revealed that the difficult conditions and violations of rights in detention and reception centers for migrants at EU borders continue. The report also noted that pushing migrants back to Turkey has become the de facto border policy of Greece, and that torture, ill-treatment and pushbacks continue.

According to the report of the Vienna-based FRA on fundamental rights, covering June 1-June 30, there have been cases of violent pushbacks in Croatia, the Greek Cypriot administration, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

In the report, it was stated that children seeking asylum without an accompanying person or with their families were detained in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Greek Cypriot administration, France, Greece and Poland.

The report detailed issues including migrants being made to undergo the mandatory quarantine period on ships after being rescued rather than being taken to ports in Italy to disembark, delays in search and rescue operations at sea, allegations of pushbacks at sea, widespread use of migration detention and accounts of violence in detention centers prior to deportation in Malta continue.

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