The European Union mentioned Monday it was anticipating an intensive investigation from Greece and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, often known as Frontex following reports that the border company is supporting Greece to push refugees again to the open sea.
“We anticipate each Greek authorities and Frontex to analyze any such reports completely and guarantee full compliance with EU legislation,” mentioned Adalbert Jahnz, a spokesperson for the European Commission at a noon briefing.
“The fee is deeply involved in regards to the reports of pushbacks and different kinds of non-compliance of EU legislation together with safeguards of defending of basic rights and proper to entry asylum,” Jahnz mentioned.
He added that the fee is in shut contact with Frontex and Greek authorities whereas the nation’s officers has began an investigation over the reports.
On Friday, German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Frontex has been complicit in Greece’s unlawful practices in opposition to refugees within the Aegean Sea.
“Breaking the legislation has change into an on a regular basis prevalence at Europe’s borders, and the EU is permitting it to occur,” the weekly mentioned in an investigative report, based mostly on inside official paperwork, satellite tv for pc images, and interviews with witnesses. It additionally added that their analysis has proved for the primary time that Frontex officers know in regards to the Greek border guards’ unlawful practices — and that the company itself is at occasions concerned within the pushbacks.
Der Spiegel revealed paperwork exhibiting that Frontex models additionally noticed and even backed these practices in current months, in violation of worldwide legislation.
The German weekly documented a minimum of six incidents exhibiting Frontex models have been concerned in pushbacks close to the islands of Lesbos and Samos between April 28 and Aug. 19
While the border company was required to rescue refugees in overcrowded inflatable boats, Frontex vessels patrolling the realm handed them at excessive pace, creating harmful waves to drive them to return to Turkish shores. An plane belonging to Frontex was additionally documented passing over refugees who have been searching for assist at sea, however the border company despatched nobody to rescue them.
Der Spiegel’s investigative reporting was additionally backed by Lighthouse Reports, Bellingcat, German public broadcaster ARD and Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi.
Greek border guards alongside authorities with the Greek Cypriot administration have lengthy been accused by human rights teams of intentionally abandoning and pushing again refugees at sea.
In September, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Greek Cypriot administration’s marine law enforcement officials of beating some migrants and making threats. The group mentioned coast guard vessels tried to swamp migrant boats by circling them at excessive pace and deserted a minimum of one boat at sea with out meals or gasoline. HRW mentioned Greek Cypriot pushed again 200 migrants and refugees arriving from Lebanon aboard boats, ignoring their claims for asylum whereas in some cases utilizing violence and coercive ways.
Earlier in October, almost 30 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) known as on Greece to open an “pressing inquiry” into allegations that it was systematically pushing migrants again towards Turkey.
“The continued failure to handle the intense allegations of pushbacks and violence in opposition to folks on the transfer at Greece’s borders can not be tolerated,” mentioned Adriana Tidona, a migration researcher at Amnesty International.
Numerous reports by journalists, researchers and witnesses have cataloged the best way by which migrants and asylum-seekers have been compelled again throughout the border to Turkey or left stranded within the Aegean Sea with out help by Greek coast guards, regardless of the conservative authorities’s denials in Athens. The spokesperson for the reseach group Jasoor Natalie Gruber claimed that over 1,500 asylum-seekers have been pushed again from Greek territory previously three months alone.