• Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Collective Expulsions

    Greek law enforcement officers have summarily returned asylum seekers and migrants at the land and sea borders with Turkey during the Covid-19 lockdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases used violence against asylum seekers, including some who were deep inside Greek territory, and often confiscated and destroyed the migrants’ belongings.

    In reviewing nine cases, Human Rights Watch found no evidence that the authorities took any precautions to prevent the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to or among the migrants while in their custody. These findings add to growing evidence of abuses collected by nongovernmental groups and media, involving hundreds of people intercepted and pushed back from Greece to Turkey by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men over the last couple of months. Pushbacks violate several human rights norms, including against collective expulsion under the European Convention on Human Rights.

    “Greek authorities did not allow a nationwide lockdown to get in the way of a new wave of collective expulsions, including from deep inside Greek territory, ” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of protecting the most vulnerable people in this time of global crisis, Greek authorities have targeted them in total breach of the right to seek asylum and in disregard for their health.”

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 victims and witnesses who described incidents in which the Greek police, the Greek Coast Guard, and unidentified men in black or commando-like uniforms, who appeared to be working in close coordination with uniformed authorities, violently pushed migrants back to Turkey in March and April 2020.

    Six of those interviewed said Greek police officers rounded up people in the Diavata camp for asylum seekers in Thessaloniki, 400 kilometers from the land border with Turkey. This is the first time Human Rights Watch has documented collective expulsions of asylum seekers from deep inside Greece, through the Evros river.

    Six asylum seekers, from Syria, Palestine, and Iran, including a 15-year-old unaccompanied girl from Syria, described three incidents in March and April in which Greek Coast Guard personnel, Greek police, and armed masked men in dark clothing coordinated and carried out summary returns to Turkey from the Greek islands of Rhodes, Samos, and Symi. All of them said they were picked up on the islands soon after they landed, placed on larger Coast Guard boats, and once they were back at the sea border, were forced onto small inflatable rescue rafts, with no motor, and cast adrift near Turkish territorial waters.

    Another asylum seeker described a fourth incident, in which the Greek Coast Guard and unidentified men dressed in dark uniforms wearing balaclavas used dangerous maneuvers to force a boat full of migrants back to Turkey.

    On June 10, the International Organization for Migration reported that they had received allegations of migrants being arbitrarily arrested in Greece and pushed back to Turkey and asked Greece to investigate. On June 12, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged Greece to investigate multiple reports of pushbacks by Greek authorities at the country’s sea and land borders, possibly returning migrants and asylum seekers to Turkey after they had reached Greek territory or territorial waters.

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government instituted nationwide restrictions on public movement from March 13 until early May. Migrants and asylum seekers were locked down in some camps, mainly on the Greek islands, where restrictions on freedom of movement continue, and where the closing of government offices has left them in legal limbo.

    Human Rights Watch sent letters to the Greek police and the Greek Coast Guard on June 29, presenting authorities with a summary of findings but received no response. The Greek Coast Guard indicated they would reply but at the time of publication, we had received no communication.

    Greek judicial authorities should conduct a transparent, thorough, and impartial investigation into allegations that Greek Coast Guard and Greek police personnel are involved in acts that put the lives and safety of migrants and asylum seekers at risk, Human Rights Watch said. Any officer engaged in illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers, should be subject to disciplinary sanctions and, if applicable, criminal prosecution.

    The Greek parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of collective expulsions, including pushbacks, and violence at the borders, and determine whether they amount to a de facto government policy.

    The Greek Ombudsman, an independent national authority, should examine the issue of summary and collective expulsions, and issue a report with recommendations to the Greek authorities, Human Rights Watch said.

    The European Commission, which provides financial support to the Greek government for migration control, including in the Evros region and the Aegean Sea, should urge Greece to end all summary returns and collective expulsions of asylum seekers to Turkey, press the authorities to investigate allegations of violence, and ensure that none of its funding contributes to violations of fundamental rights and EU laws. The European Commission should also open legal proceedings against Greece for violating EU laws prohibiting collective expulsions.

    On July 6, during a debate at the European Parliament on fundamental rights at the Greek border, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that incidents should be investigated and indicated that the European Commission may consider a new system to monitor and verify reports of pushbacks amid increased allegations of abuse at the EU’s external borders. The Commission should take concrete measures to set up an independent and transparent investigation in consultation with members of civil society, Human Rights Watch said.

    Everyone seeking international protection has a right to apply for asylum and should be given that opportunity.

    Returns should follow a procedure that provides access to effective remedies and safeguards against refoulement – return to a country where they are likely to face persecution – and ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

    “Greece has an obligation to treat everyone humanely and not to return refugees and asylum seekers to persecution, or anyone to the real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment or worse,” said Cossé. “Putting a stop to these dangerous incidents should be a priority for the Greek government and the European Commission as well.”

    For more information and accounts from migrants and asylum seekers, please see below.

    Sea Pushbacks to Turkey

    Between May 29 and June 6, 2020, Human Rights Watch interviewed six men from Iran, Palestine, and Syria, and one 15-year-old unaccompanied girl from Syria, who were in Turkey and who described three incidents in which they said the Greek Coast Guard, Greek police officers, and unidentified men in black or commando-like uniforms coordinated summary returns from Symi, Samos, and Rhodes in March and April. In the fourth incident, the Greek Coast Guard and unidentified men in uniforms wearing balaclavas used dangerous maneuvers to force the boat full of migrants back to Turkey from the Aegean Sea.

    Marwan (a pseudonym), 33, from Syria, said that on March 8, the Greek Coast Guard engaged in life-threatening maneuvers to force the small boat carrying him and 22 other passengers, including women and children, back to Turkey:

    “[W]e saw a Greek Coast Guard boat. It was big and had the Greek flag on it…. They started pushing back our boat, by creating waves in the water making it hard for us to continue…. It was like a battle – like living in Syria, we thought we were going to die.”

    In the three cases involving summary returns of people who had reached land, Greek law enforcement officers apprehended them within hours after they landed, and summarily expelled them to Turkey. All of those interviewed said that they were forced first onto large Coast Guard boats and then onto small inflatable rescue rafts, with no motor, and cast adrift near the Turkish sea border. In all cases, they said the Greek officers stole people’s belongings, including personal identification, bags, and money.

    These findings add to growing evidence of abuses collected by nongovernmental groups, including Alarm Phone and Aegean Boat Report, and the reputable German media outlet Deutsche Welle. Human Rights Watch was able to identify 26 reported incidents published by others, that occurred between March and July, involving at least 855 people. In 2015 Human Rights Watch documented that armed masked men were disabling boats carrying migrants and asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea and pushing them back to Turkish waters.

    Karim (a pseudonym), 36, from Syria, said that he arrived by boat to Symi island on March 21, along with approximately 30 other Syrians, including at least 10 children. He said that the Greek police approached the group within hours after they arrived. They explained that they wanted to claim asylum, but the officers detained them at an unofficial port site and summarily returned them to Turkey two days later, he said. They were taken on a military ship to open water, where the asylum seekers – including children and people with disabilities – were violently thrown from the ship’s deck to an inflatable boat:

    [T]hey [Greek police] put us in a military boat and pushed us [from the deck] to a small [inflatable] boat that doesn’t have an engine. They left us on this boat and took all our private stuff, our money, our IDs. We were on the boat and we were dizzy. We were vomiting. They [the Greek Coast Guard] didn’t tell us anything…. [W]e were in the middle of the sea. We called the Turkish Coast Guard. They came and took our boat.

    Karim and his extended family were detained in the Malatya Removal Center in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, and in three other detention centers in Turkey, for seven weeks. They were released on May 7.

    In another incident at the end of March, 17 men and women and an unaccompanied girl from Iran, Palestine, and Syria were intercepted on a highway on the island of Rhodes, an hour after landing and forced back to the shore. They were detained in a tent for two days, without food and water, and then forced onto what they believe was a Greek Coast Guard boat on the third day, then dumped at sea in a small motor-less rescue raft. Human Rights Watch gathered four separate witness statements about the same incident, in which interviewees gave similar accounts. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued them.

    Leila L. (a pseudonym), 15, a Syrian girl traveling alone, said:

    On the third day, it was night, we don’t know what time, they told us to move … they looked like army commandoes and they had weapons with them. There were six of them, wearing masks … they pointed their weapons at us. We were pushed in a horrible way and they pushed our bags in the sea. Before getting on the first boat, they took everything from us – our phones, our IDs, our bags … everything, apart from the clothes we were wearing. We were very scared. Some people were vomiting. Think what you would feel if you’re in the middle of the sea and you don’t know what would happen to you. We stayed between two to three hours [in the sea]. The boat had no engine. It was a rescue boat. It was like a dinghy. After two to three hours, the Turkish Coast Guard drove us to shore.

    In another incident, Hassan (a pseudonym), 29, a Palestinian refugee from Gaza, said that the police apprehended him and his group of approximately 25 people about three hours after they arrived on the island of Samos, during the third week of March. He said the police took them to the shore, where another group of police and Greek Coast Guard officers were waiting:

    The Greek Coast Guard put us in a big boat…. We drove for three hours but then they put us in a small boat. It was like a raft. It was inflatable and had no motor. Like a rescue boat they keep on big boats in case there is an emergency. They left us in the sea alone. There was no food or water. They left us for two nights. We had children with us….

    Hassan said that a Greek Coast Guard boat came back on the third day, threw them a rope, and “drove around for two hours in the sea,” leaving them closer to Turkish waters. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued them.

    Video footage analyzed by Human Rights Watch from an incident that allegedly took place in the sea between Lesbos and Turkey on May 25, shows what appears to be women, men, and children drifting in an orange, tent-like inflatable life raft while three other rafts can be seen in the background. The rafts appear to be manufactured by the Greek company Lalizas, which according to publicly available information is a brand that the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy purchases. The person speaking in the video alleges they were placed on those rafts by the Greek Coast Guard to force them back to Turkey.

    Human Rights Watch contacted the Lalizas company through email with questions on the use of the life rafts by the Greek Coast Guard, but received no response.

    In its June 10 statement, the International Organization for Migration notes that “footage showing the use of marine rescue equipment to expel migrants across the Eastern Aegean Sea are [sic] especially disturbing.”

    Collective Expulsions Across Land Border

    In May, Human Rights Watch interviewed six men from Afghanistan who described five separate incidents in which they were summarily returned from Greece to Turkey in March and April. They gave detailed accounts of the Greek police apprehending them in the Diavata camp, a reception facility in Thessaloniki.

    They said the police took them to what they thought were police stations that they could not always identify or to an unofficial detention site that they said was like a small jail, close to the Greek-Turkish border, robbed them of their personal belongings including their ID, phone, and clothes, and beat them with wooden or metal rods – then summarily expelled them to Turkey.

    In one case, a 19-year-old man from Kapisa, in Afghanistan, gave Human Rights Watch a photo of injuries – red strip-like marks across his back – he said were caused by beatings by people he believed were police officers.

    Reporting by Human Rights Watch and other groups suggests that collective expulsions of people with documents allowing them to be in Greece, from deep inside the mainland, appear to be a new tactic by Greek law enforcement.

    Five of the men had obtained a document from police authorities in Thessaloniki granting the right to remain in Greece for up to 30 days. While the document is formally a deportation order, the person should have the chance to apply for asylum during the 30-day period if they wish to and the document may, under certain circumstances, be renewed.

    The men said they had either not understood their rights or had been unable to apply for asylum, or to renew this document, due to Covid-19 related shutdown of government institutions. They said that before they were returned to Turkey, in the weeks following the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19, they saw Greek police forces visiting the Diavata camp almost daily to identify and return to Turkey residents whose documents had expired.

    Greece suspended the right to lodge asylum applications for those who arrived irregularly between March 1 and 31, following tensions on the Greek-Turkish land borders at the end of February due to a significant and rapid increase in people trying to cross the border. The Emergency Legislative order said that these people were to be returned to their country of origin or transit “without registration.”

    Making the situation worse, the Asylum Service suspended services to the public between March 13 and May 15 to protect against the spread of the Covid-19 virus. During this period, applications for international protection were not registered, interviews were not conducted, and appeals were not registered. The Asylum Service resumed full operations on May 18 but the Greek Council of Refugees, a non-governmental group providing legal assistance to asylum seekers, said that no new asylum applications had been lodged by the end of May with the exception of people under administrative detention.

    Greek law requires authorities to provide for the reception of third-country nationals who are arrested due to unlawful entry or who stay in Greece under conditions that guarantee human rights and dignity in accordance with international standards. During the reception and identification procedure, authorities should provide socio-psychological support and information on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, including the right to apply for asylum, and refer vulnerable people such as unaccompanied children and victims of torture to social services.

    Mostafa (a pseudonym), 19, from Afghanistan, said that in mid-April, Greek police rounded him up from Diavata camp, took him to a police station near the camp, and then transferred him to another small detention site near the border, where he was detained for a night, then forced onto a boat and expelled to Turkey:

    When they [the police] came to check my papers [at Diavata camp] I told them I couldn’t renew them because the office was closed but they didn’t listen to me…. They didn’t allow us any time. They just took us to the bus and said: “We will take you to renew the papers.” They were beating us the whole time…. [T]hey took us to the police station near the camp, there were more people, 10 people altogether…. [T]hey kept us in the rain for a few hours and then they transferred us to the border. There were two children with us – around 15 or 16 years old….When they took us to the police station, they took my coat, I was just with pants and a t-shirt and then at the border, they took these too. They took everything, my money, ID, phone.

    Mostafa gave the following description of the detention site near the border and the secret expulsion that followed:

    It was like a small police station. There were toilets. There were other migrants there. It was around four and a half hours away from the border. They carried us in a bus like a prison. We stayed in this small jail for one night, no food was given. It was at 10 or 11 o’clock at night when they took us to the border. I crossed with the boat. There were 18 people in one boat. It took six or seven minutes – then we arrived on the Turkish side. [T]he police were standing at the border [on the Greek side] and looking at us.

    Two men giving accounts about two separate incidents, said that the police took them to an unofficial detention site near the border. They described the detention locations as “small jails” and said they were detained there for a day or two.

    Four out of the six asylum seekers said that Greek security forces had abused them, throughout their summary deportation, beating them with heavy metal, plastic, or wooden sticks.

    Mohamed (a pseudonym), 24, from Afghanistan, said:

    They had a stick that all the police have with them…. The stick was made of plastic, but it was very heavy. They had black uniforms. I couldn’t see all of the uniform – I couldn’t see their faces – if I looked up they would beat us. They beat one migrant for five minutes…. There were eight of them – they asked us if we came from Thessaloniki and we said yes and then they started beating us.

    All of those interviewed said the Greek security forces stripped them of their clothes, leaving them in either just their underwear or just a basic layer, and took their possessions, including personal identification documents, money, telephones, and bags before pushing them back to Turkey.

    In a report published in March, Human Rights Watch documented that Greek security forces and unidentified armed men at the Greece-Turkey land border detained, assaulted, sexually assaulted, robbed, and stripped asylum seekers and migrants, then forced them back to Turkey. At the end of June, Greece’s Supreme Court Prosecutor opened a criminal investigation initiated by the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a nongovernmental group, into the pushbacks and violence documented by Human Rights Watch and others, as well as into the shooting and deaths of two people in Evros in March.

    Human Rights Watch documented similar situations in 2008 and 2018. In March 2019, the Public Prosecutor of Orestiada in Evros, initiated an investigation regarding the repeated allegations of systematic violence against migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros river, based on the Human Rights Watch 2018 report, and a report by three nongovernmental groups, including the Greek Council for Refugees.

    Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a nongovernmental group, has built an extensive database of testimony of people being pushed back from Greece to Turkey over the Evros river. Between March 31 and April 28, BVMN has reported at least 7 incidents involving more than 306 people. Among these cases, at least six people had legal documents regularizing their stay in Greece when they were summarily expelled.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/16/greece-investigate-pushbacks-collective-expulsions

    #refoulements_collectifs #migrations #asile #réfugiés #life_rafts #Grèce #refoulement #push-backs #refoulements #frontières

    –—

    sur les #life_rats :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/840285
    #life_raft #liferafts

    • Press Release: New Legal Centre Lesvos report details collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea

      Greek authorities are unlawfully expelling migrants who have arrived in Greece, and abandoning them at sea on motorless, inflatable vessels. In a report released today by Legal Centre Lesvos, testimonies from 30 survivors detail the systematic, unlawful and inherently violent nature of these collective expulsions.

      Since the Greek authorities’ one month suspension of the right to seek asylum on 1 March 2020, the Greek government has adopted various unlawful practices that are openly geared towards the deterrence and violent disruption of migrant crossings, with little regard for its obligations deriving from international law and specifically from the non refoulement principle – and even less for the lives of those seeking sanctuary.

      While collective expulsions from Greece to Turkey are not new, in recent months Greek authorities have been using rescue equipment – namely inflatable, motorless life rafts – in a new type of dystopic expulsion. Migrants are violently transferred from Greek islands, or from the dinghy upon which they are travelling, to such rafts, which are then left adrift in open water.

      In addition to the well-documented practice of non-assistance to migrant dinghies, the Greek authorities have damaged the motor or gasoline tank of migrant dinghies before returning the vessel – and the people on board – to open waters, where they are subsequently abandoned.

      These collective expulsions, happening in the Aegean region, are not isolated events. Direct testimonies from survivors, collected by the Legal Centre Lesvos, demonstrate that they are part of a widespread and systematic practice, with a clear modus operandi implemented across various locations in the Aegean Sea and on the Eastern Aegean islands.
      The information shared with the Legal Centre Lesvos is from 30 survivors, and testimonies from 7 individuals who were in direct contact with survivors, or were witness to, a collective expulsion. These testimonies, related to eight separate collective expulsions, were collected between March and June 2020, directly by the Legal Centre Lesvos.

      Collective expulsions are putting peoples’ lives at risk, are contrary to Greece’ international legal obligations and violate survivors’ fundamental and human rights, including their right to life and the jus cogens prohibitions on torture and refoulement. When carried out as part of a widespread and systematic practice, as documented in our report, these amount to a crime against humanity.

      Collective expulsions should undoubtedly be condemned, in the strongest possible terms; however, this is not sufficient: it is only through the immediate cessation of such illegal practices that the protection of human rights and access to asylum will be restored at the European Union’s external borders.

      Lorraine Leete, attorney and one of the Legal Centre Lesvos’ coordinators, said that:
      “The Greek authorities are abandoning people in open water, on inflatable and motorless life rafts – that are designed for rescue – with no regard for their basic safety, let alone their right to apply for asylum. Such audacious acts show the violence at the core of the European border regime, and the disregard that it has for human life.

      Greek authorities have denied reports of collective expulsions as “fake news”, despite a plethora of undeniable evidence, from survivors and various media outlets. This is untenable: evidence shared with the Legal Centre has shown that collective expulsions are happening in the Aegean sea, with a systematic and widespread modus operandi that amounts to crimes against humanity. They are being carried out in the open, in plain view – if not with the participation – of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. European Authorities are complicit in these crimes as they have thus far failed to act to prevent further pushbacks, or hold Greek authorities accountable.”

      https://legalcentrelesvos.org/2020/07/13/press-release-new-legal-centre-lesvos-report-details-collective-e

      –---

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:


      http://legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Collective-Expulsions-in-the-Aegean-July-2020-LCL.pdf

      #Mer_Egée #Méditerranée

  • Επαναπροωθούν πρόσφυγες στα νησιά με ειδικές θαλάσσιες σκηνές

    Η « Εφ.Συν. » φέρνει στη δημοσιότητα βέβαιες, καταγεγραμμένες περιπτώσεις παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων προσφύγων από θαλάσσης προς την Τουρκία από το Λιμενικό, με ειδική μάλιστα διαδικασία : αφού εντοπίζονται στη στεριά, τοποθετούνται σε σχεδίες που μοιάζουν με πλωτές σκηνές και αφήνονται μεσοπέλαγα στα τουρκικά ύδατα για να τους « ξεβράσει » το κύμα προς την ακτή.

    Πυκνώνουν τα περιστατικά παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων προσφύγων και μεταναστών από τα νησιά στην Τουρκία, την ώρα που καταγράφεται μια διαστροφική ποιοτική αναβάθμιση των μεθόδων που χρησιμοποιούνται και οι οποίες εκθέτουν σε κίνδυνο για τη ζωή τους δεκάδες ανθρώπους.

    Η « Εφ.Συν. » κατάφερε να ταυτοποιήσει συγκεκριμένα πρόσωπα προσφύγων και φέρνει σήμερα για πρώτη φορά στη δημοσιότητα αποκαλυπτικά ντοκουμέντα, που όχι μόνο αποδεικνύουν τις επαναπροωθήσεις, αλλά δείχνουν ότι αυτές υλοποιούνται πλέον με ειδικές ναυαγοσωστικές σχεδίες, οι οποίες μοιάζουν με σκηνές πάνω στη θάλασσα.

    Οπως διαπιστώνεται, οι αρχές και κυρίως το Λιμενικό, αφού εντοπίσουν τους πρόσφυγες είτε στη στεριά σε κάποια απόκρημνη ακτή είτε μεσοπέλαγα, τους επιβιβάζουν σε αυτές τις ναυαγοσωστικές σχεδίες, τα επονομαζόμενα liferafts, και στη συνέχεια τους αφήνουν εντός τουρκικών χωρικών υδάτων, ώστε να παρασυρθούν από τα κύματα μέχρι να εντοπιστούν από σκάφη της τουρκικής ακτοφυλακής.

    Από τη Σάμο, πίσω

    Στη Σάμο, την 1η Απριλίου αυτόπτες μάρτυρες στις οχτώ το πρωί διαπίστωσαν την αποβίβαση μιας βάρκας με αρκετά άτομα στην παραλία Μουρτιά στην ανατολική πλευρά του νησιού. Το περιστατικό κάλυψε ο διαχειριστής της τοπικής ιστοσελίδας aegaio.blogspot.com Ιωάννης Νέγρης, ενώ ένας ακόμη κάτοικος της περιοχής ήταν παρών. Οι μετανάστες βγήκαν στην ακτή, έσκισαν τη βάρκα τους, έβγαλαν μερικές φωτογραφίες « και άρχισαν να κινούνται προς την πόλη, αφού καμία αρχή δεν ήταν στο συμβάν », σημειώνει ο κ. Νέγρης, που διαθέτει και το ανάλογο φωτογραφικό υλικό.

    Οπως περιγράφει, ο ίδιος επικοινώνησε με το λιμεναρχείο και έμαθε ότι ήδη είχε ξεκινήσει ένα πλωτό για να τους παραλάβει.

    « Από εδώ και πέρα ξεκινούν τα περίεργα », σημειώνει και περιγράφει το πώς στη συνέχεια οι άνθρωποι αυτοί « εξαφανίστηκαν » ! « Γύρω στις 12 το μεσημέρι, δέχομαι τηλέφωνο από αστυνομικό που μου λέει « μάθαμε ότι βγήκαν μετανάστες, μας ενημέρωσε η Υπατη Αρμοστεία, αλλά δεν τους βρίσκουμε.

    Μήπως επειδή είναι Ψευταπριλιά μάς κάνουν πλάκα ; ». Του απαντώ αρνητικά και κλείνει το τηλέφωνο », υποστηρίζει ο κ. Νέγρης. Στη συνέχεια γύρω στις 2.10 το μεσημέρι της ίδιας ημέρας, έμαθε τελικά ότι οι πρόσφυγες, τον αριθμό των οποίων υπολογίζει σε περίπου 25, παρελήφθησαν από ένα φουσκωτό που έφυγε προς άγνωστη κατεύθυνση.

    Σύμφωνα με αυτόπτη μάρτυρα που εντόπισε ο κ. Νέγρης, το φουσκωτό κατευθύνθηκε πίσω από ένα βουνό στην άκρη του κόλπου και μετά χάθηκε. Στη συνέχεια, ο ίδιος επικοινώνησε με το νοσοκομείο και συγκεκριμένα με τον διοικητή του, ο οποίος δήλωσε ενήμερος για το περιστατικό. Ωστόσο από το λιμεναρχείο τον διαβεβαίωσαν ότι αυτοί οι μετανάστες δεν υπάρχουν και ότι κανένα τέτοιο περιστατικό δεν έχει καταγραφεί !

    Το φωτογραφικό υλικό όμως που έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα ο κ. Νέγρης, όπως και ακόμα μία κάτοικος, πιστοποιεί όχι μόνο την άφιξη αλλά και την ταυτοπροσωπία ορισμένων εξ αυτών, που διακρίνονται σε ανάλογο υλικό το οποίο δημοσιοποίησε την επόμενη ημέρα η ακτοφυλακή της Τουρκίας. Φωτογραφίες τόσο από την περισυλλογή των προσφύγων μέσα από τη θάλασσα, επιβαινόντων πλέον σε liferaft, όσο και μέσα από την ακταιωρό που μετέφερε τους ναυαγούς !

    Συγκεκριμένα παρατηρούμε και στις δύο φωτογραφίες πρόσφυγες να κρατούν τα ίδια αντικείμενα (χαρακτηριστική η κόκκινη βαλίτσα της φωτογραφίας), να φορούν τα ίδια ρούχα, όπως η κόκκινη φόρμα παντελόνι που φοράει ο ένας, το τζιν μήκους ⅔ που διακρίνεται να φορά μια κοπέλα αφρικανικής καταγωγής και πολλά ακόμη στοιχεία, όπως παπούτσια κ.ά.! Στοιχεία που οδηγούν στο ασφαλές συμπέρασμα ότι οι ίδιοι άνθρωποι, που αποβιβάστηκαν το πρωί της 1ης Απριλίου στη Μουρτιά της Σάμου, φωτογραφήθηκαν σε σκάφος του λιμενικού της Τουρκίας την επόμενη ημέρα. Οπως αποδεικνύεται, η περίπτωση της Σάμου δεν είναι και η μοναδική, ούτε κάτι που συνέβη ευκαιριακά με πρωτοβουλία κάποιου χαμηλόβαθμου αξιωματικού που ενδεχομένως εκμεταλλεύτηκε τη συγκυρία.
    Μαρτυρίες και για Χίο

    Ενδεικτική είναι η μαρτυρία για ένα ύποπτο περιστατικό που σημειώθηκε στη Χίο στις 23 Μαρτίου. Εκεί αρχικά έγινε γνωστό ότι στην περιοχή των Καρδαμύλων κατέφτασε βάρκα με 40 πρόσφυγες, γεγονός που κατέγραψε ο τοπικός Τύπος και επιβεβαίωσε το λιμεναρχείο. Στη συνέχεια όμως από το λιμεναρχείο υποστήριζαν ότι οι συγκεκριμένοι είχαν φύγει από τη ΒΙΑΛ και πήγαν στα Καρδάμυλα, σκηνοθετώντας -υποτίθεται- την αποβίβασή τους με σκοπό να ξεγελάσουν τις αρχές και να ενταχθούν στους νεοεισερχόμενους μετά την 1η Μαρτίου, ώστε να καταφέρουν να αποχωρήσουν αμέσως για κάποια κλειστή δομή στην ηπειρωτική χώρα.

    Σύμφωνα όμως με μαρτυρία ενός πρόσφυγα που διαμένει στη ΒΙΑΛ, ανάμεσα σε αυτούς στα Καρδάμυλα ήταν και ο αδελφός του, ο οποίος ενημέρωσε για την άφιξή του στέλνοντας φωτογραφίες. Ο τελευταίος αμέσως ειδοποίησε τουλάχιστον δύο αλληλέγγυους, στους οποίους προώθησε και τη φωτογραφία με την παραλία. Η μία εκ των αλληλέγγυων στη συνέχεια μαζί με τον πρόσφυγα από τη ΒΙΑΛ έφτασε στα Καρδάμυλα, εκεί όπου η αστυνομία τούς απαγόρευσε την προσέγγιση στην παραλία.

    « Στη συνέχεια δεν υπήρξε καμία επικοινωνία και την επόμενη ημέρα ο νεοεισερχόμενος έστειλε από κινητό τρίτου ατόμου μήνυμα ότι είχε μεταφερθεί στο Τσεσμέ και από τότε αγνοούνται τα ίχνη του », δήλωσε στην « Εφ.Συν. » μέλος της ομάδας αλληλεγγύης. Οπως έγινε γνωστό, ο πρόσφυγας κατέληξε σε φυλακή της Τουρκίας, ενώ το κινητό του έχει κατασχεθεί από το Λιμεναρχείο Χίου. Ανάλογο περιστατικό σημειώθηκε και στα Γρίδια κοντά στον οικισμό των Νενήτων στη Χίο, όπου ομάδα προσφύγων κατέφτασε στην ακτή και ντόπιοι φωτογράφισαν την άφιξή της.

    Πάλι όμως το λιμεναρχείο ισχυρίστηκε ότι επρόκειτο για προσπάθεια σκηνοθετημένης άφιξης. Ωστόσο η ακτοφυλακή της Τουρκίας την επομένη, 26/3, έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα φωτογραφίες από τη διάσωση 21 ανθρώπων έξω από το Τσεσμέ, πάλι σε liferaft, μεταξύ τους 12 παιδιά και πέντε γυναίκες. Οπως μάλιστα έγινε γνωστό, στο liferaft όπου είχαν στριμωχτεί, υπήρχε δεμένο και ένα μικρό φουσκωτό σκάφος όπου είχαν στοιβάξει τις αποσκευές τους.
    Εν κρυπτώ

    Αξίζει να αναφερθεί ότι το Λιμεναρχείο Χίου ουδέποτε έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα κάποια σύλληψη για την υποτιθέμενη μεταφορά των προσφύγων από τη ΒΙΑΛ στα Καρδάμυλα (απόσταση 40 και πλέον χιλιομέτρων), ενώ και στο δεύτερο περιστατικό που συνέβη την πρώτη μέρα περιορισμού της κυκλοφορίας, θεωρείται απίθανο να μην τους αντιλήφθηκε κάποιος κατά τη διαφυγή τους από τη ΒΙΑΛ και την πορεία τους περίπου 10 χιλιόμετρα μέχρι την ακτή, όπου εντοπίστηκαν από ντόπιους. Να σημειωθεί ότι υπάρχουν και άλλες παραλίες σαφώς πιο κοντά στη ΒΙΑΛ που θα μπορούσαν να επιλέξουν οι πρόσφυγες, αν όντως ήθελαν να σκηνοθετήσουν την άφιξή τους.

    Συνολικά εννέα περιπτώσεις διάσωσης προσφύγων σε liferaft έχει δώσει στη δημοσιότητα το λιμενικό της γειτονικής χώρας, με πρόσφυγες που βρέθηκαν να πλέουν χωρίς καμία δυνατότητα ελέγχου της πορείας τους, μια και αυτές οι φουσκωτές σχεδίες στερούνται μηχανή ή όποιο άλλο προωθητικό μέσο ή και πηδάλιο.

    Πρόκειται για περιπτώσεις όπου σκάφη της ακτοφυλακής της Τουρκίας μαζεύουν ναυαγούς από liferaft σε ακτογραμμή μήκους 170 ν.μ. Και συγκεκριμένα από το Δικελί ανατολικά της Λέσβου έως και την πόλη Ντάτσα (Datça) βόρεια της Σύμης, εκεί όπου τα περιστατικά διάσωσης προσφύγων σε liferaft είναι πυκνά. Το πρώτο καταγράφηκε στις 23 Μαρτίου, όταν η τουρκική ακτοφυλακή στις 5.25 μ.μ. μάζεψε από liferaft συνολικά 31 άτομα, που δήλωσαν ότι το πρωί της ίδιας ημέρας είχαν αποβιβαστεί στη Σύμη. Το δεύτερο στη Σύμη και τρίτο χρονικά σημειώθηκε στις 27/3, σχεδόν μία ώρα μετά τα μεσάνυχτα, με τον ίδιο τρόπο, με 10 διασωθέντες.

    Επαναλήφθηκε τέταρτη φορά στις 29/3 και ώρα 23.40 πάλι στην Datça με 18 άτομα. Το πέμπτο καταγεγραμμένο περιστατικό σημειώθηκε στην πόλη Didim της δυτικής Τουρκίας απέναντι από το Φαρμακονήσι, με την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή να διασώζει από liferaft εννέα πρόσφυγες.

    Το έκτο και το έβδομο περιστατικό σημειώθηκαν έξω από το Δικελί, απέναντι από τη Λέσβο, στις 31 Μαρτίου όπου μέσα σε λίγα λεπτά στις 01.21 και 01.38 περισυνελέγησαν συνολικά 39 άνθρωποι. Το όγδοο ήταν αυτό της Σάμου την 1η Απριλίου, όπου οι πρόσφυγες μεταφέρθηκαν στο Αϊδίνι της Τουρκίας, ενώ το ένατο και πιο πρόσφατο σημειώθηκε στις 4 Απριλίου με τον εντοπισμό ενός liferaft με 15 άτομα έξω από το Αϊβαλί. Τα στοιχεία για τους αριθμούς των διασωθέντων, για την τοποθεσία και την ώρα προέρχονται από τη ΜΚΟ Aegean Boat Report, ενώ οι φωτογραφίες από το τουρκικό λιμενικό.

    https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/238226_epanaproothoyn-prosfyges-sta-nisia-me-eidikes-thalassies-skines

    –------

    –-> Commentaire de Vicky Skoumbi, reçu via mail, le 08.04.2020 :

    Absolument terrifiant : une nouvelle méthode de refoulement maritime extrêmement dangereuse est pratiquée au moins depuis le 23 mars par les garde-côtes grecs

    Plusieurs cas de refoulement maritime de réfugiés par une méthode extrêmement dangereuse : ils sont renvoyés vers la Turquie sur des canots de sauvetage gonflables dits #liferaft.

    Le Journal de Rédacteurs révèle des refoulements maritimes illégaux de réfugiés vers la Turquie par les garde-côtes, avec une procédure spéciale : une fois repérés à l’endroit où ils ont débarqués, les réfugiés sont placés sur des radeaux de survie qui ressemblent à des tentes flottantes et sont laissés à la dérive dans les eaux turques afin de le courant les emporte vers la côte turque.

    Cette méthode employée déjà pour repousser des dizaines de personnes est non seulement illégal mais extrêmement dangereuse : dans la mesure où ces radeaux de sauvetage n’ont ni machine ni gouvernail ils dérivent hors contrôle et mettent en danger la vie de ceux qui s’y trouvent.

    Le reportage photographique de Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn permet identifier des visages spécifiques des réfugiés en train de débarquer ; les mêmes visages se retrouvent sur les radeaux de sauvetage spéciaux, qui ressemblent à des tentes, ces liferafts à la dérive.

    Il s’avère que les autorités, et en particulier les garde-côtes, après avoir localisé les réfugiés sur terre, soit sur une ligne côtière escarpée soit au milieu de la mer, les obligent de monter à bord de ces radeaux de sauvetage, ces soi-disant radeaux de sauvetage, puis les laissent dans les eaux territoriales turques, afin qu’ils soient emportés par les vagues jusqu’à ce que les navires des garde-côtes turcs les repèrent.

    Les mêmes personnes, avec des vêtements et des objets caractéristiques, apparaissent sur des photos prises le 1er avril à Samos et le lendemain sur un bateau de la garde côte turque.

    Au total, neuf cas de sauvetage de réfugiés sur des liferafts ont été rendus publics par les garde-côtes turques, les réfugiés naviguant sans aucune possibilité de contrôler leur trajectoire, car ces radeaux gonflables ne sont dotés ni de machine, ni d’autre moyen de propulsion, ni de gouvernail.

    Les données sur le nombre de personnes secourues, l’emplacement et l’heure proviennent de l’ONG Aegean Boat Report, tandis que les photos de garde-côtes turcs. Pour voir le reportage photo Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn (https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/238226_epanaproothoyn-prosfyges-sta-nisia-me-eidikes-thalassies-skines)

    Voir aussi la page FB de Aegean Boat Report :
    https://www.facebook.com/AegeanBoatReport/posts/805700453286394?__tn__=-R

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #refoulement #push-back #refoulements #push-backs #Mer_Egée #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #life_raft #liferafts #life_rafts #orange

    ping @luciebacon @isskein @karine4

    • More images published by @ABoatReport
      this morning: a floating deportation camp.

      https://twitter.com/itamann/status/1265202422177320960?s=03

      –---

      Tents at Sea: How Greek Officials Use Rescue Equipment for Illegal Deportations

      Back in 2013, Australia introduced strange new machinery in its campaign against unauthorized migration: a dozen bright-orange and windowless life vessels, shaped like missiles. These were equipped with navigational systems, air conditioning, and an engine. Each vessel, asylum seekers said, was given “just enough fuel” to reach Indonesia. When they washed ashore in February 2014, Indonesian locals were initially unsure what they were looking at. It was a piece of new deportation infrastructure, designed to launch migrants intercepted at sea back to where they had come from.

      In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Greek authorities have put in place comparable deportation machinery. In at least 11 incidents since March 23, migrants have been found drifting in orange, tent-like inflatable life rafts without motors or propellants and that cannot be steered. Members of the Turkish Coast Guard reported these apparitions, but Greek authorities neither explained nor documented them. Images of these life rafts, fluorescent triangular structures afloat between black sea and dark sky, looked strange enough to seem superimposed. Relying on testimony and footage we obtained from multiple sources, including asylum seekers in the area, our investigation verifies this latest show of violence at the Greek-Turkish maritime border.

      Far from Australia’s flashier orange vessels from five years back, these are more modest structures. Importantly, the Greek life rafts have appeared in a very different maritime environment: compared to the oceans surrounding Australia, the Aegean Sea is a relatively placid and narrow body of water. Yet like the Australian vessels, these too have been put in place by State authorities, in an organized way, violating fundamental rules of international law. The two sets of deportation craft share visible similarities and are each used in dangerous ways, shedding light on the legal and moral risks that states are now willing to take, just to keep out unwanted populations.

      Maximum Deterrence

      On Nov. 27, Greek Member of Parliament Kyriakos Velopoulos, leader of the right-wing Greek Solution party, appeared on a popular TV talk show on ERT, a Greek state-owned public broadcaster. He advanced a policy first adopted by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, where Haitian asylum-seekers were detained long before 9/11, and later expanded upon by Australia: open-air detention of asylum seekers on “uninhabited” islands. For those whose applications are rejected, Velopoulos suggested unilateral pushbacks to Turkey: Greek authorities should simply remove arriving migrants from the country and send them back to where they came from. Holding photos of the oblong orange vessels Australia had used, he explained: “This here … is a raft made by the Australian government … with food, actual food, and it never sinks.” An interviewer gasped: “There’s a humanitarian aspect to it!”

      The relevant background to Velopoulos’s suggestions goes back to 1990, when the Dublin Convention introduced a system whereby asylum seekers must remain in the first European Union member State they access and have their requests processed there. This created an enormous and unjust burden on states at the “external borders” of the EU, such as Greece.

      The latest version of this arrangement, the Dublin III Regulation, was adopted in 2013. In June 2015, the EU further exacerbated the disproportionate role given to Greece in “migration management”: with the announcement of the “hotspot” approach, several Aegean islands became locations for asylum-seeker screening, with departures to the mainland prohibited. By August, the flow of refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, particularly the Syrian civil war, began to surge, generating a crisis within the EU as Member States argued over how to handle the arrivals.

      The influx of migrants generated a legal challenge to the Dublin rules, but the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld them in a 2017 ruling. In the meantime, in 2016, the EU and Turkey issued a joint statement saying Turkey would prevent unauthorized migrants from leaving its territory, in return for as much as 6 billion euros from the EU. Refugees and migrants thus became a bargaining chip that Ankara continuously used in its diplomatic wrangles with Brussels.

      Earlier this year, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for Western approval of his military operation against Syrian and Russian forces in northern Syria, he intensified his exploitative bargaining. On Feb. 29, he declared that the country would no longer prevent migrants from reaching Europe.

      As thousands of migrants gathered at the Turkish-Greek border, seeking to enter, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned in a tweet, “Once more, do not attempt to enter Greece illegally – you will be turned back.” On March 1, the Greek government issued an emergency decree suspending asylum applications. According to Human Rights Watch, the Greek National Security Council announced that unauthorized migrants would be immediately returned, without registration, “where possible, to their countries of origin or transit,” such as Turkey. As in other countries in the Mediterranean basin, which also resorted to emergency measures, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has provided a convenient pretext for cracking down on migrants.

      Adrift on the Aegean

      According to a report from the Turkish Coast Guard, the first of at least 11 alleged pushback incidents involving life rafts occurred on March 23. One of the Turkish Coast Guard’s March 23 reports on “irregular migration” stated that the Guard had rescued 31 Syrian asylum seekers found floating in a life raft off the coast of Muğla’s Datça district in the Aegean Sea. The raft in question can clearly be seen in a press release photograph published by the Coast Guard about the incident.

      The refugees contacted the Consolidated Rescue Group, a grassroots organization run by Arabic-speaking volunteers who operate an emergency hotline for migrants in distress. In a statement obtained by the group and forwarded to us, the asylum seekers rescued on March 23 said they landed on the Greek island of Symi on March 22, at approximately 6 am. At certain points, the island is less than 8 km (or 5 miles) from the Turkish shore. The next day, the Greek authorities forced them onto “a small raft that looked like a tent and was orange in color” and left them to drift.

      “Up until then, we had no idea that this was what they are going to do,” one of those on board, a construction worker (name withheld for security reasons) from the southeastern outskirts of Damascus, told us in a follow-up interview over WhatsApp.

      The Greek Coast Guard had brought them to the main port of Symi and boarded them onto a ship: “They told us they would take us for a Corona test, and then we would be given our belongings back and transferred to Athens,” he said. Instead, after two hours onboard the Greek Coast Guard vessel, the authorities forced them down into a small raft: “They put everyone in … children, women, elderly, and young people. They didn’t leave anyone in the ship,” he said, telling us that they were left to drift “for over three hours,” until they were eventually rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.

      He provided us with video footage that he recorded of the group’s arrival on the island of Symi, as well as footage recorded from inside the raft, while awaiting rescue (see below).

      The Greek government’s daily public statistics of arrivals contains no record of their arrival on the Greek island or their deportation to Turkey.

      A series of similar incidents were reported by the Turkish Coast Guard in the following days. On March 27, the Coast Guard reported rescuing 10 migrants (eight Palestinian, two Egyptian, consisting of 3 men, 2 women and 5 children) in a “life raft” off the coast of Muğla’s Datça district (the Turkish version is written as “Can Salı”). Again, photographs accompanying the Coast Guard’s official press release show people being rescued from a tent-like raft. According to the Turkish Coast Guard’s statements, the migrants had been “pushed back towards Turkish territorial waters by Greek Coast Guard.”

      The next day, on March 28, nine Syrians (4 men, 2 women and 3 children) rescued were reported found in a “life boat” off the coast of Aydın’s Didim district, again with clear photographs of the distinctive tent-like raft accompanying the Guard’s report.

      We interviewed a Kurdish couple from Hasaka, Syria, who were among the group. According to the couple, on the morning of March 27, “around 7 or 8 a.m.,” they arrived on the Greek island of Farmakonisi. Unlike the larger Aegean islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, and Kos, where refugees most commonly arrive, Farmakonisi is an uninhabited island and a military base. There are no camps or reception facilities for asylum seekers.

      The couple told us they were held by the army in terrible conditions. They described being “treated like animals, … [t]he army took our phones, money, clothes, and documents then threw them into the sea. Around 3 a.m., they took us toward the sea border. Then they made us take a boat shaped like a square tent, 2 meters wide. Then we were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.”

      Again, on March 29, the Turkish Coast Guard reported rescuing 18 migrants (7 men, 4 women and 7 children) at 11:40 p.m. The Coast Guard issued a press release, complete with clear photos of the migrants being rescued from a life raft.

      This is consistent with statements from migrants claiming to have been among those rescued. We interviewed a Syrian man who provided us with photographs of his arrival on Rhodes on March 27. The man told us he arrived with a group of 18 people: seven Palestinians, six Syrians and five Iranians, including children and a pregnant woman. After arriving on Rhodes, the man and the rest of the group were held by the Greek police on the roadside from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

      “The weather was really cold and they did not let us light a fire to warm the women and children who were with us,” he said. The group was then transferred to the port by bus: “They gave us two tents, without anything in them. We were under full surveillance,” he added.

      “They [Greek authorities] were suspicious that we had corona, so we wrote a sign that none of us has corona so that we could reassure them, hoping they would treat us in a humane way,” he said. “But this changed nothing.”

      The group stayed in the makeshift camp for 2 1/2 days, until the night of March 29. He said that was when “a military van with army officers transferred us to the port and handed us over to the Greek Coast Guard.”

      They were on board the Greek Coast Guard boat for about one hour: “Then they switched off the engine of the boat and made us go down, in the middle of the sea, in a rubber boat shaped like a tent.” They were left to drift for what he describes as approximately two hours, when they were intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard:

      When the Turkish Coast Guard found us and took us to the Turkish land, they registered our information and transferred us to the police station. They split us in half. One half was Syrians and Palestinians and the other half is the other nationalities. For us, we were detained for like 15 days and after that we were released without any rights as refugees, such as having a Kimlik [Temporary Protection Identification Document].

      Without the proper registration, he explains, he is now hiding from the Turkish authorities as he fears being forcibly returned to Syria, where he fled.

      Contravening International Rules

      “Shaped like a tent,” as migrants repeatedly describe them, the life rafts the Greek Coast Guard appears to be employing to expel migrants are, in fact, designed for emergency evacuation in the case of shipwreck. They are manufactured not for transportation, but for rescue in case of a boat or ship sinking, to keep survivors afloat and alive until assistance arrives. They are not equipped with an engine or other propellant, cannot be steered, and provide minimal protection from the elements.

      As Paul Crowley, a former captain for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Ireland, explained to us, such life rafts are never to be deployed “for any other reason other than to preserve life if no other option is available. It would contravene any internationally recognized standard to take people from a non-life-threatening location, either land or vessel, and place them in a raft.”

      As far as the law goes, these returns risk violating the international standard of non-refoulement. This principle is at the centerpiece of international refugee protection, and prohibits returns of asylum seekers to any place where they may suffer persecution, torture, or inhuman and degrading treatment. The returns also violate Greece’s obligations under human rights law, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to life (see Articles 3 and 2, respectively, of the European Convention on Human Rights). Inasmuch as these violations constitute a “widespread or systematic attack” directed against a “civilian population,” they may raise concerns under international criminal law. Evidence continues to surface that these days, when it comes to the treatment of migrants, the Greek authorities violate fundamental edicts of international law unabated.

      While the use of rescue equipment for deportations appears to be a new development, pushbacks on the Aegean are not. On March 23, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Felipe González Morales stated that he is “very concerned about the reported pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants” by Greek authorities at both land and maritime borders. He also referenced recent violence committed by Greek authorities against those seeking to aid migrants in the Aegean Sea area. The Germany-based human-rights monitoring organization Mare Liberum (“The Free Sea”) told us that a more common tactic of the Greek Coast Guard is to remove the engines of migrants’ boats and leave them to drift. Likewise, reports of the Turkish Coast Guard resorting to violence have arisen since Turkey’s implementation of the 2016 deal with the EU. Examples reported to the authors by migrants and NGO workers include driving rings around boats and throwing stones to stop boats from leaving Turkish waters.

      Clearly both countries have geostrategic motives for their treatment of migrants related to their fraught relationships with the EU – including aid money and various benefits for their own citizens. Often, it seems like the two countries are playing a violent game of ping-pong across the Aegean with migrant bodies.

      An Iraqi refugee whom we interviewed over WhatsApp — we will refer to as “Hatim” for safety reasons — told us that he has been pushed back to Turkey by Greek authorities on three occasions since July 2019. Hatim and his family fled to Turkey in 2014, when ISIS took over their home city of Mosul. They were selected for resettlement in the United States, and had just finished their first interview when Trump’s January 2017 Executive Order interrupted the program. On the night of April 1, 2020, he and his family made four separate attempts to reach the Greek island of Chios. On the last attempt, their rubber dinghy, carrying approximately 40 people, entered Greek territorial waters and was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard. The Coast Guard confiscated the fuel from their boat and returned them to Turkish waters, leaving them to drift.

      The systemic nature of such violations by the Greek authorities was recently highlighted by whistleblowers working under Frontex, the European border enforcement agency. In early March, the crew of a Danish patrol boat participating in “Operation Poseidon,” an EU maritime border patrol mission coordinated by Frontex, revealed that the Hellenic Coast Guard has explicit orders to stop migrant boats from crossing the sea border between Turkey to Greece. The Danish unit had refused to obey a pushback order from Operation Poseidon headquarters. Since then, NGOs Alarmphone and Mare Liberum have documented a series of pushbacks by Greek authorities along the Greece-Turkey border, including in the Aegean, that have become increasingly visible and severe.

      Most notably, Greek newspaper EFSYN reported an incident involving 26 migrants whose arrival on Mourtia Beach on the Greek island of Samos April 1 was documented by a resident. The arrival was not reported by the Greek authorities. In fact, government statistics recorded no new arrivals to Samos on that date.

      However, photographs taken by the Samos resident (and reproduced in EFSYN’s reporting) show the deflated dinghy and newly arrived migrants heading away from the shore. One member of the group is distinguished by bright red trousers while another carries a red duffle bag. EFSYN published photographs obtained from the Turkish Coast Guard of the same group who had arrived on Mourtia Beach aboard a Turkish Coast Guard boat after their rescue later that day, noting the marked similarities in the appearance, clothing and baggage of the migrants in the two sets of photographs. On the same day, the Turkish Coast Guard reported rescuing 26 migrants (found with a life raft) on the shore near Kuşadası national park, in a location that cannot be reached by land. According to the Turkish Coast Guard, the migrants said they had landed on Samos, were rounded up by the Greek Coast Guard and left to drift in the raft.

      On May 12, EFSYN published a video of a life raft like the ones pictured above (but without the cover) being dragged by a Greek Coast Guard boat off the southeast coast of Samos. The video was originally published by the Turkish Coast Guard on April 29, at which time it announced rescuing 22 people found drifting off the coast of Aydin province, bordering the Greek island of Samos. According to Bellingcat’s recent investigation into the incident, the group of 22 migrants rescued on April 29 (pictured in the video) had, in fact, arrived on Samos the previous day, on April 28.

      Most recently, a video surfaced on YouTube appearing to show the Turkish Coast Guard rescuing a group of 30 migrants aboard two life rafts. According to Turkish records and reports, including photographs, the Coast Guard rescued 30 migrants in two life rafts on May 13, consisting of 13 Congolese, eight Syrians, five Bangladeshis and three Palestinian nationals, along with a Lebanese national. The rescue occurred off the coast of the district of Menderes in Turkey’s İzmir province.

      On May 15, yet another group of migrants were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard after being found in these distinctive life rafts. This group of 25 migrants also reported having been repelled by Greek authorities, again with photographic evidence.

      The Tent and the Missile

      Australians eventually replaced their orange lifeboats with fishing boats, although the intention was the same – pushing migrants away from Australian shores. But there was something chillingly memorable about that episode. It embodied the often-hypocritical moral stance of liberal democracies regarding strangers in need: a willingness to engage in extreme measures, even violence, to enforce borders, coupled with an emphasis on efficiency and a pretense of safety.

      While the Australian deportation vessels appear to have been custom-made and reportedly were purchased for $40,000 AUD each (about $25,000 USD), the Greek life raft “tents” are considerably more modest. They are the kind of equipment a yacht owner might purchase online for around $2,000. Under the 1974 Safety of Life as Sea Convention, maritime vessels are required to have such protective gear available. The Hellenic Coast Guard has now repurposed them for the opposite ends – putting people in danger.

      The Greek orange rafts seen in pictures appear to be a model manufactured by a Greek company called LALIZAS, which specialize in rescue equipment. A November 2019 LALIZAS newsletter includes an article entitled “24 hours in a LALIZAS Liferaft: Mission accomplished!” It describes a training in which members of Greece’s Hellenic Rescue Team and Hellenic Air Force carried out a simulated “‘actual’ case of emergency” by relying on a LALIZAS life raft and its food and survival equipment for a full 24 hours (see the story on the LALIZAS website here, and official video of the simulation, here). The life raft in question, code named “MEDUSSA” for the simulation, appears identical to those in many of the images of the tent-like rafts migrants have been rescued from while adrift in the Aegean.

      According to the Greek government’s procurement records available online, it purchased the life rafts for the Greek Navy in 2017. Several government ministries appear to have contracts with this company.

      The Australian life raft most closely resembles a missile. Its very image conveys the omnipotence of a regional superpower. By using such a machine, Australia effectively said to those attempting unauthorized maritime entry, “We will shoot you away.” To be sure, this missile is not fired at the migrants. It’s as if they become part of its ammunition; shot back at Indonesia’s shores, they are expected to crawl out of the shell once the missile crashes on one of the country’s countless atolls.

      Compared to the grandeur of the Australian missile-like object, and its mechanical cruelty, the Greek tent-like raft is a poignant symbol of inhumanity. Set adrift on the Aegean, its disquieting quality emerges from the fact that it becomes a kind of metaphor for the refugee’s condition. Asylum seekers describing it had often used the Arabic word ḵēma (خيمة), which is the tent one would use in a camp (and typically not a home, even if that too is a tent). It echoes the word mūẖym, which means refugee camp. No fuel is rationed to reach a destination, and the expectation appears to be that the life raft will simply drift across the relatively narrow waterway.

      The act of putting migrants to sea in inflatable tents is in line with the broader EU contemporary response to the “refugee crisis” – rejection and abandonment. This is, at least, how asylum seekers protesting at Moria camp, on the Greek island of Lesvos, see it: “We have been abandoned here,” said one asylum seeker on April 22.

      Like the Australian example, the tent too is an instrument of deterrence: “We will shoot you away” is replaced with a threat of an even more perilous exile on water. This aspect, however, does not make the Greek use of the life rafts any better than the Australian display of technological might. Both are utilized to perform what is almost an act of murder, but ultimately not quite there.

      https://www.justsecurity.org/70309/tents-at-sea-how-greek-officials-use-rescue-equipment-for-illegal-depo

      –-> #camps_flottants #camp_flottant

    • A terrifying video of a push-back in the Aegean sea; men, women –two of them pregnant- and children abandoned at sea on a liferaft by the greek coast-guards

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKsEHZKGsSE&feature=emb_title

      –—

      Le reportage complet du quotidien grec Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn:

      Επαναπροώθηση με ελληνική σφραγίδα

      Ένα ακόμα περιστατικό παράνομης επαναπροώθησης που σημειώθηκε στις 25 Μαΐου στο Αιγαίο, στη θαλάσσια περιοχή ανοιχτά της Λέσβου, έρχεται στη δημοσιότητα για να επιβεβαιώσει την σύνδεση της χρήσης σχεδιών τύπου liferafts, με τις ελληνικές λιμενικές αρχές.

      Όπως είχε αποκαλύψει πρόσφατη έρευνα που δημοσιεύτηκε στον ιστότοπο justsecurity.org από τους δρ. Itamar Mann και Niamh Keady Tabal, και παραθέτει στοιχεία και για παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις, το Ελληνικό Δημόσιο συνεργάζεται στενά με την ελληνική εταιρεία LALIZAS, σωστικές συσκευές της οποίας προμηθεύτηκε και το Πολεμικό Ναυτικό, σύμφωνα με αρχεία αναρτημένα στη Διαύγεια, το 2017.

      Η έρευνα συζητήθηκε διεθνώς και ανάγκασε τον επικεφαλής της Frontex Φαμπρίς Λεγκέρι να παραδεχτεί τις ελληνικές παράνομες επιχειρήσεις επαναπροώθησης.

      Το βίντεο που δημοσιοποιεί σήμερα η « Εφ.Συν. » εξετάστηκε από την ερευνητική ομάδα Disinfaux, η οποία συμμετείχε στην έρευνα του justsecurity.org. Στο βίντεο διακρίνεται καθαρά πάνω στη σχεδία η επιγραφή LALIZAS ISO-RAFT. Διακρίνεται επίσης ο σειριακός αριθμός και η ημερομηνία κατασκευής της σχεδίας, βάσει της διαθέσιμης ανάλυσης (ISO 96-50-1, LALIZAS ISO-RAFT, Date of Manufacture 10/2016 Serial Number 161012174). Το προϊόν με αυτά τα χαρακτηριστικά διαφημίζεται στην ιστοσελίδα της εταιρείας.

      Σε άλλο απόσπασμα του βίντεο φαίνονται σε κοντινή απόσταση οι άλλες 3 παρόμοιες πλωτές σχεδίες, γεγονός που συνάδει με τα διαθέσιμα στοιχεία για το περιστατικό της 25ης Μαΐου, όπως είχε δημοσιευτεί το ίδιο πρωί, από τη Τουρκική Ακτοφυλακή.

      Ελληνικές σχεδίες

      Ανήκε η συγκεκριμένη σχεδία στον επίσημο εξοπλισμό του Πολεμικού Ναυτικού ή άλλων ελληνικών δυνάμεων ; Πώς βρέθηκε καταμεσής του Αιγαίου ως μέσο επαναπροώθησης προς την Τουρκία προσφύγων που είχαν βρεθεί σε κίνδυνο ; Τι αναφέρουν τα πρωτόκολλα διάσωσης για όσους βρίσκονται σε κίνδυνο στη θάλασσα ;

      Τα βίντεο τραβήχτηκαν από πρόσφυγα πάνω στη σχεδία την ώρα της επαναπροώθησης. Σε ανάρτησή του στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης περιγράφει τις δραματικές στιγμές που έζησε αυτός και άλλοι περίπου 70 πρόσφυγες στις 25 Μαΐου, από τη στιγμή που έπεσαν στα χέρια του Λιμενικού μέχρι που τους εγκατέλειψε, και βρέθηκαν να πλέουν αβοήθητοι πάνω σε τέσσερις σχεδίες στη μέση του Αιγαίου. Παρέμειναν εκεί, ανάμεσά τους πέντε παιδιά και δύο έγκυες. Ένας τους είχε καταφέρει να κρύψει το κινητό του τηλέφωνο και κατάφεραν να καλέσουν το τουρκικό Λιμενικό, το οποίο τους εντόπισε.

      Η « Εφ.Συν. » επικοινώνησε με τον πρόσφυγα που ανάρτησε το βίντεο. Όπως αναφέρει, σκάφος της ελληνικής ακτοφυλακής έκανε μανούβρες γύρω από τη βάρκα στην οποία αρχικά επέβαιναν οι πρόσφυγες. « Όλοι οι φίλοι μου έκλαιγαν, ούρλιαζαν, ζητούσαν βοήθεια από το λιμενικό. Άντρες που φορούσαν στρατιωτικές στολές, και είχαν όπλα, πήραν τη μηχανή της βάρκας και μας είπαν : "Είμαστε εδώ για να σας βοηθήσουμε, θέλουμε να σας μεταφέρουμε στο καμπ της Μόριας" », λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

      Τους επιβίβασαν στο σκάφος του λιμενικού και αφού έλεγξαν τη θερμοκρασία τους με θερμόμετρα, τους χτύπησαν και τους αφαίρεσαν τα προσωπικά τους αντικείμενα. « Μας πήραν τα πάντα : χρήματα, τσάντες, τηλέφωνα », λέει. Αφαίρεσαν από το σκάφος του λιμενικού την ελληνική σημαία, τους οδήγησαν μεσοπέλαγα και τους επιβίβασαν σε τέσσερα liferaft. Τους ανάγκασαν να ανέβουν είκοσι άτομα σε κάθε σχεδία, ενώ η -βάσει προδιαγραφών- χωρητικότητά της είναι για 12 άτομα. Η εταιρεία LALIZAS δεν έχει στον κατάλογο της παρόμοιου τύπου liferaft με χωρητικότητα άνω των 12 ατόμων. Επισημαίνει επίσης πως οι τέσσερις τσάντες από τις οποίες έβγαλαν τα πλωτά ήταν χρώματος πορτοκαλί, όπως διαφημίζεται και το προϊόν στο site της LALIZAS.

      « Δεν έδωσαν σωσίβια στους ανθρώπους που δεν είχαν, και όταν εγώ ζήτησα από έναν λιμενικό να μου δώσει το τηλέφωνό μου για να επικοινωνήσω τουλάχιστον με την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή μου απάντησε "έλα και πάρ’ το", δείχνοντάς μου τα γεννητικά του όργανα », αναφέρει ο πρόσφυγας, ο οποίος θέλει να κρατήσει την ανωνυμία του.

      Τους περικύκλωσαν για 15 περίπου λεπτά και μετά τους εγκατέλειψαν. Ένας από τους επιβαίνοντες κατάφερε να κρύψει το κινητό του τηλέφωνο και έτσι κατάφεραν να καλέσουν την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή η οποία τους μετέφερε σώους στην Φότσα της Σμύρνης.

      « Δημοσιοποιώ αυτό το βίντεο για να δείξω στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, την Ύπατη Αρμοστεία και το Ευρωκοινοβούλιο, τα αποτελέσματα των αποφάσεων τους για το προσφυγικό », καταλήγει στην ανάρτησή του. Την ίδια στιγμή, ο Διεθνής Οργανισμός Μετανάστευσης (ΔΟΜ), η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία, και αρκετοί φορείς ζητούν απαντήσεις και τη διεξαγωγή έρευνας για τις καταγγελλόμενες επαναπροωθήσεις και μαζικές απελάσεις προσφύγων και μεταναστών στην Τουρκία.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/247726_epanaproothisi-me-elliniki-sfragida

      #Norvège

    • Greece Suspected of Abandoning Refugees at Sea

      An investigation by DER SPIEGEL and partners has revealed that the Greek Coast Guard intercepts refugee boats, puts the migrants in life rafts, tows them toward Turkey and then abandons them to their fate. What do German troops in the area know about the practice?

      Europe is just a few kilometers away, recalls Amjad Naim, when the men in masks show up. It’s the morning of May 13 and the Palestinian is sitting in an inflatable boat, having paid migrant smugglers in Turkey for the trip. Naim can already see the Greek coast, and with every second, he is getting closer and closer.

      Naim wasn’t alone in the boat. They were a group of at least 26 people and they had almost reached the island of Samos. Naim remembers hearing a helicopter, and then all hell broke loose. For the next several hours, those on board would be afraid for their lives.

      The men in the masks approached in a large vessel, says Naim, adding that he remembers seeing the Greek flag and several dinghies. And then, he says, the masked men went on the attack.

      They fired shots into the water, he says, snagged the migrants’ inflatable raft with a grappling hook and destroyed the motor, thus stopping the boat. The men then took the migrants on board their vessel, Naim says, adding that he started crying and hid his mobile phone in his underwear.

      There are videos that prove that Naim really was on his way to Samos. The images show a young man with closely cropped hair and a smooth-shaven face. The motor of the small inflatable boat hums in the background as Naim smiles into the camera. He is originally from the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian Territories, where he studied law and got married. His wife is waiting for him in the Netherlands. Naim blows a kiss into the camera.

      The next images of Naim are shaky — a 55-second clip made by Naim that clearly documents a crime. The footage shows him and the other refugees on two inflatable life rafts. The Greek Coast Guard had put them off of the ship and onto the rafts. The square-shaped platforms are little more than wobbly rubber rafts.

      In the video, a Greek Coast Guard ship, 18 meters (59 feet) long, is dragging the rafts back toward Turkey. An additional ship stands by. Water can be seen pouring into Naim’s raft.

      Then, as can be seen in the video, the Greek Coast Guard unties the tow rope, leaving the refugees to their fate in the middle of the sea. Sitting in a rubber raft that has no ability to maneuver on its own.

      It is possible that Naim’s experience could be an isolated incident. It is conceivable that the Greek sailors simply lost their patience or that that particular ship was crewed by an especially nasty group. But that is not the case. Naim is apparently just one victim among many. There is a system behind the tactics he was exposed to. In a joint investigation with Lighthouse Reports and Report Mainz, DER SPIEGEL has forensically analyzed dozens of videos and compared them with geodata in addition to speaking with numerous eyewitnesses.

      https://cdnstatic.secure.spiegel.de/SP/2020/26/OPQWeKYm-32438806.mp4

      The material shows beyond doubt: In the eastern Aegean, European values are being sacrificed in the name of protecting its external borders.

      Masked men, almost certainly Greek border control officials, regularly attack refugee boats in the area. In one case on June 4, the inflatable boat belonging to the masked men can be clearly identified as a Greek patrol boat. It belongs to Greek Coast Guard ship ΛΣ-080.

      After the refugee boats are intercepted, the Greeks, apparently, frequently put the migrants in inflatable life rafts, tow them toward Turkey and then leave them to their fates. In most cases, they are dragged ashore after several hours by the Turkish Coast Guard.

      The actions taken by the Greeks are a clear breach. It has long been known that Greek Coast Guard personnel delay rescue attempts and perform aggressive maneuvers. Now, though, they are actively putting the lives of migrants at risk and they are using life-saving equipment to put people in danger.

      Images of migrants on orange life rafts have been appearing for weeks on Facebook and Instagram. NGOs like Aegean Boat Report, Josoor and Alarm Phone have also spoken with refugees and reported their experiences - and since March 23, activists have documented a number of incidents. The Turkish Coast Guard has also published images of the orange life rafts. But Naim’s video is the first to document beyond doubt a Greek Coast Guard vessel towing life rafts toward Turkey and then abandoning the refugees on the open sea.

      These so-called pushbacks represent both a violation of international law and of the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Asylum seekers have a right to have their cases heard on an individual basis and countries are not permitted to bring them back against their will to a place where their safety is not guaranteed.

      Itamar Mann, a lawyer at the University of Haifa and member of the Global Legal Action Network, believes pushbacks could also have criminal consequences. From a legal perspective, such operations, he says, are a kind of torture, with refugees experiencing inhumane treatment and humiliation.

      When contacted, the Greek Coast Guard denied the accusations and claimed that its personnel does not wear masks. They also said they obey all applicable laws. Delays in rescuing the refugees, they said, were due to the Turkish Coast Guard because they only accompany refugee boats if they are traveling in the direction of Greece. The Greek officials, they said, only locate the refugee boats and then inform the Turkish Coast Guard as quickly as possible.

      They claimed that they cooperated with the Turkish Coast Guard in the May 13 incident. In their statement, the Greek Coast Guard did not specifically address the video showing the pushback.
      Caught in the Middle

      Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been in office since last July, and since then, he has taken several steps to ensure that fewer refugees arrive in Greece. He had temporarily suspended the right to asylum and shortened the deadline for appeal in asylum cases. Furthermore, during his tenure, border guards on the Maritsa River between Turkey and Greece have apparently used live ammunition against refugees, likely killing at least one. His government has considered blocking refugee boats with barriers at sea.

      His government refers to the practices as “active surveillance.” In fact, though, they are abandoning refugees on the high seas.

      There is a reason for this new degree of brutality: Since the end of February, Turkish border guards are no longer stopping refugees on their way to Europe. Indeed, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has even arranged for refugees to be bused to the Greek border, where they were pushed back by Greek border guards. Erdogan’s intention is to ratchet up the pressure on the European Union, with Brussels and Ankara currently trying to hammer out a new refugee deal.

      The cynical game seen on the banks of the Maritsa River is now being repeated in the Aegean. The Turkish and Greek Coast Guards are pushing refugee boats into the territorial waters of the other, with the migrants themselves getting caught in the middle. In such a situation, those wanting to cross the Aegean need quite a bit of luck.

      Omar, a young man from Afghanistan, had lost almost all hope for such luck on the morning of June 4, floating in a boat between the Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast. Omar, whose name has been changed for this story, wasn’t alone: A total of 31 men, women and children were on board.

      Turkish and Greek vessels had repeatedly pushed the migrants back. In one video, a dinghy can be seen that doubtlessly belongs to the Greek Coast Guard. Masked men, says Omar, had pushed their motor into the water, which is why to refugees were hanging off the back of the refugee boat and kicking, doing all they can to propel the boat to European soil. The scene was captured on video.

      Omar is desperate. He makes a final video, posting it to a refugee group on Facebook. In the video, he speaks into the camera for a good six minutes. “Please help us,” he pleads. “We have a right to live.”

      Perhaps it was this video that saved Omar’s life. Activists shared it on Facebook and just a short time later, a Turkish liaison officer on the supply ship Berlin told German soldiers of the vessel in distress. The ship is part of a NATO mission and was located off Lesbos. Using a tender, the Germans took the refugees ashore.

      A subsequent press release from the Bundeswehr, as the German military is called, noted that the refugees’ lives had been in danger, which is why the commander intervened. A small boat unable to maneuver on its own: It must have seemed rather strange to the soldiers. The press release made no mention of an attack on the refugee boat.
      German Officials Pulled Into the Chaos

      The episode shows, though, just how deeply German officials have been pulled into the chaos on the Aegean. It also raises the question as to whether the Germans know of the assaults and of the lifeboats - and whether they tolerate the pushbacks or are perhaps even involved.

      Around 600 border guards are helping the Greeks monitor activity on the Aegean, all part of the Frontex operation Poseidon. And the mission hasn’t always been free of conflict. In March, a Danish Frontex crew refused to carry out an illegal pushback.

      Behind closed doors, Frontex may already have admitted that it is aware of the brutal tactics involving the lifeboats. European Parliamentarian Dietmar Köster, a member of European Parliament from the German Social Democrats (SPD), says that Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri confirmed the incidents in a meeting with him. Though Köster is certain of his understanding of that meeting, Frontex says there was a misunderstanding, adding that Frontex headquarters has received no reports about pushbacks.

      Luise Amtsberg, a Green Party spokesperson on migration policy, doesn’t believe it. The waters around Samos are not endless, she told Report Mainz and DER SPIEGEL. “Pushbacks cannot take place completely without the knowledge of the other units in the area.”

      And there are indications that German officials might know of the pushbacks. In the port of Samos, the German Coast Guard ship Uckermark is anchored. On May 13, on the day that Amjad Naim was on his way to Samos, the Germans identified a refugee boat on their radar, according to information provided by the German Federal Police when contacted.

      In all probability, it was Naim’s boat. There is no evidence that there were any other refugee boats heading for Samos on that day. The Greek Coast Guard also confirmed that a ship and a helicopter belonging to the Germans had spotted a boat that day. They say it was in Turkish waters when first seen.

      The Germans alerted the Greek Coast Guard by radio, and the Greeks then took charge of the situation, according to a written statement. The statement notes that the Germans were “not involved” in any other measures related to the incident and insists that the Germans have no knowledge of the lifeboat episode.

      The German Coast Guard has provided no comment as to why no refugees arrived on Samos that day or what happened to the refugee boat that was spotted. And they apparently aren’t particularly interested, either.

      Even if Frontex was not actively involved in the operation, they bear some of the responsibility, says the lawyer Itamar Mann. Frontex, he believes, must draw a line and even withdraw from the mission if need be.

      After the Germans apparently saw his boat and after the Greeks abandoned him to his fate on the high seas on May 13, Amjad Naim floated around for several hours. The sky was almost cloudless, and the sun was beating down, as can be seen in the videos. The refugees had nothing to eat or drink.

      The lifeboat soon began to spin in circles, Naim says, with some of the passengers becoming nauseous and others fainting. Turkish and Greek ships, he says, simply ignored them. “It was awful,” Naim says.

      It was only after several hours that a Turkish Coast Guard vessel arrived to collect them. Men in white protective equipment helped the refugees off the lifeboat and took their temperatures. Naim then had to remain in quarantine for more than two weeks - in a nasty camp full of filth and mosquitoes, he says.

      Naim is now allowed to move freely in Turkey, but still feels trapped. He says: “I can’t go forward and I can’t go back.”

      https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/videos-and-eyewitness-accounts-greece-apparently-abandoning-refugees-at-sea-

  • Vomitous and terrifying: the lifeboats used to turn back asylum seekers

    The bulbous orange lifeboat wallowing in the shallows off the coast of Central Java is an unlikely looking weapon - but it’s proving highly effective in Australia’s military campaign against asylum seekers.

    To the people forced to travel in them, though, it is a vomitous and terrifying experience.

    ’’Inside the orange boat it was closed, hot and very dark,’’ says Omar Ali, an Egyptian asylum seeker now in temporary detention in an old office building in Cilacap, Central Java.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/vomitous-and-terrifying-the-lifeboats-used-to-turn-back-asylum-seekers-20140

    #réfugiés #asile #Mourir_en_mer #migration #Australie #push-back #refoulement