UNHCR: Statement about report on push-backs from Greece to Turkey

12 November 2013

With reference to the report issued on November 7th 2013 by the German NGO Pro-Asyl, titled “Pushed Back – Systematic human rights violations against Refugees in the Aegean Sea and the Greek-Turkish land border”, the UNHCR Regional Representative for Southern Europe, Mr. Laurens Jolles, stated the following:

UNHCR is concerned over reports of asylum seekers and migrants being forcibly returned (“push-back”) from Greece to Turkey, as published by the German NGO ‘Pro Asyl’. The numbers and scale of the alleged incidents, which reportedly also involve persons fleeing Syria, raise serious concerns.
UNHCR stresses the vital importance of permitting people to access territory to seek international protection. If practices to prevent this, which could put asylum seekers at risk, are taking place they should cease immediately.
UNHCR is calling for a global return moratorium for Syrians refugees to Syria and countries in the region. Such a return moratorium demonstrates respect and appreciation for the contributions and offers made by States and host communities in the region. This is a concrete gesture of solidarity with these countries that currently host hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
Turkey is currently hosting one of the largest numbers of Syrians, with over 500,000 registered refugees. Neighbouring countries are bearing the brunt of the largest humanitarian crisis in recent history and need support from the international community. Returning Syrian refugees to Turkey or other neighbouring countries only adds to the challenges faced by these governments and local communities to support and provide assistance to refugees.
Accusations of ill treatment upon or shortly after apprehension, as well as reports of practices which place lives at risk, demand an exhaustive investigation, clarification and a prompt response from Greek authorities.
Some of the patterns and methods of these incidents are similar to reports of such informal returns received also by UNHCR. In 2013 several allegations of such “push-backs” by land and, increasingly, by sea, have come to UNHCR’s attention through testimonies received by new arrivals during their second or subsequent attempt to reach Greek territory.
UNHCR is documenting information it receives and is bringing this to the attention of the appropriate authorities. Greek authorities, up to now, respond that such push-back practices would run counter to applicable national or international law, and that such practices do not occur.

source

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

Get in touch

email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

RSS Clandestina

  • The Greek part of the Balkan route: Pressure & Resistance
    …how the creation of the Balkan route is connected to the Greek financial crisis …what happened when people on the move came across the part of the greek population that (faced with the end of consumerism as we knew it) chose not fascism but humanity and solidarity and what was the reaction of the social […]

RSS Group of Lawyers – Athens

  • COMUNICATO STAMPA - Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande
    Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande  Il 9 aprile 2017 le autorità turche hanno arrestato illegalmente e senza alcun motivo il giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande nella città turca di Hatay, dove stava svolgendo un’inchiesta per il suo nuovo libro “Un partigiano mi disse”. È evidente che l’attività giornalistica del 35enne Gabriele Del Grande, […]

RSS the border is the problem