Europe

EU governments behind illegal pushbacks of refugees at borders: Report

Violent pushbacks carried out by masked security forces of Greece, Croatia, Romania, media investigation reveals

Ayhan Şimşek   | 07.10.2021
EU governments behind illegal pushbacks of refugees at borders: Report File Photo

BERLIN

Refugees are suffering violent pushbacks carried out by clandestine security forces at the EU’s borders, a joint investigation by leading media organizations has revealed.

German weekly Der Spiegel published videos on its website showing masked Greek officers intercepting and disabling refugee boats in the Aegean Sea, endangering the lives of vulnerable asylum seekers.

A former senior officer of the Greek Coast Guard identified the masked men as members of the security units Underwater Operations (MYA) and Special Operations (KEA) and (OEA).

The weekly said their joint investigation have revealed that the pushback operations by security forces have become systematic practices in violation of EU law and Geneva Refugee Convention.

“They mostly operate in secret – and funded by the taxes paid by Europe’s citizens,” the weekly said.

The month-long investigation by nine media organizations has also documented illegal pushback practices by the Croatian and Romanian special police units at the EU borders.

They published visual evidence showing masked security forces beating some of the refugees, violently forcing them back across the border.

Apart from Der Spiegel, the investigative reporting was also backed by Lighthouse Reports, a non-profit organization, German public broadcaster ARD, French newspaper Liberation, and several other European media outlets.

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