World, Europe

Greece’s illegal ‘pushback’ of refugees caught on video

Der Spiegel publishes video showing masked Greek policemen forcibly deporting asylum seekers

Ayhan Simsek   | 12.12.2019
Greece’s illegal ‘pushback’ of refugees caught on video FILE PHOTO

BERLIN

German weekly Der Spiegel published video footage Thursday showing masked Greek law enforcement officers forcibly sending dozens of refugees to an area in Turkey near its border.

Two masked men wearing camouflage suits were seen putting refugees on a small boat, crossing the Meric River and forcing them to land on Turkish soil.

Several retired and serving Greek police officers and soldiers confirmed to reporters they have been conducting “pushbacks” at the Greek-Turkish border for years, according to Der Spiegel.

Denying entry to asylum seekers and forcibly returning them is illegal under EU law and a violation of international conventions on human rights.

Ankara has repeatedly urged Greece to stop illegal pushbacks, but Athens denied engaging in the practice.

At least 25,000 refugees and irregular migrants were pushed back to Turkey by Greece in the first 10 months of 2019, according to official figures.

Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.

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