#pavlos_pavlidis

  • 08/07: 19 travellers at Turkish-Greek landborder, pushed-back to Turkey

    Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 8th of July 2018

    Case name: 2018_07_08-AEG406
    Situation: 19 travellers at Turkish-Greek landborder, pushed-back to Turkey
    Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded

    Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

    Summary of the Case:

    On Sunday, 8th of July, at 11:14pm CEST, we were alerted to a group of travellers stuck near #Tichero, Greece, close to the Turkish landborder. The group consisted of 19 people, among them a 1-year-old child, a pregnant lady and a man that had a broken leg. At 12:11pm we managed to establish contact to the travellers. They were afraid of being pushed-back to Turkey by the police and asked for medical aid and the possibility to seek asylum in Greece. We asked them for a list of their names and birth dates in order to alert UNHCR. At 1:02am we received the list. We couldn’t get back in contact until 1:47am. The group decided not to move further and to wait until the morning for the UNHCR office to open so they could call there.
    At 8:30am we called UNHCR and asked for assistance. At 8:45am we also called the local police station but the operator refused to speak to us in English. We told the group to call 112 themselves for assistance. Until 9:30am we couldn’t reach any local police station. At 9:50am we sent an email to the local authorities and UNHCR to inform them about the people. Afterwards we continuously tried again to get in touch with the authorities and the group, but couldn’t establish a connection any more. At 2pm we reached the police in Alexandropolis. They informed us that they were searching since one hour but hadn’t found the travellers. During the afternoon, we couldn’t get any news and didn’t reach the travellers anymore. At 6:53pm the police informed us that they had not found the group yet. The next day at 11:02am we were informed by a contact person that the group had been found and that they had been allegedly violently pushed-back to Turkey. At 12:45am we managed to reach the group itself. They told us that the police had found them at 5:00pm the day before and put them in „a prison“. At 10:00pm the police had told the group that they were being moved to a camp to apply for international protection. However, the police instead brought them back to the river and handed them to officers discribed as „military“, who forced them onto a boat and across Evros border river back to Turkey. The police officers before had confiscated personal belongings of the refugees, including mobile phones, money, passports and the food for the baby.

    http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/943

    #Evros #Grèce #frontières #Turquie #push-back #refoulement #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    • WSJ: Turks fleeing Erdogan fuel new influx of refugees to Greece

      Thousands of Turks flee Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the Kurds and the Gülen Group in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
      Around 14,000 people crossed the Evros frontier from January through September of this year, more than double the number for the whole of last year, according to the Greek police. Around half of them were Turkish citizens, according to estimates from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency. Many are judges, military personnel, civil servants or business people who have fallen under Turkish authorities’ suspicion, had their passports canceled and chosen an illegal route out.
      Nearly 4,000 Turks have applied for asylum in Greece so far this year. But most Turkish arrivals don’t register their presence in Greece, planning instead to head deeper into Europe and further from Turkey.

      About 30 Turks have been arriving on a daily basis since the failed coup, according to Kathimerini, there were zero arrivals from Turkey in 2015. However, thousands of Turkish citizens have started claiming asylum in Greece since “Erdogan stepped up his crackdown against his opponents since the failed coup attempt.”

      The Wall Street Journal interviewed some of the purge-victim families in Greece:

      “In the dead of night, Yunuz Cagar and his wife Cansu gave their baby some herbal tea to help her sleep, donned backpacks and followed smugglers on a muddy path along the Evros river, evading fences and border guards until they reached Greece.

      Mr. Cagar, a 29-year-old court clerk, was living a quiet life with his family in a provincial town near Istanbul until Turkey’s crackdown after a failed military coup in 2016 turned their world upside down. Judges, colleagues and friends were arrested. He lost his job and had to move the family into his parents’ attic. Mr. Cagar was arrested and spent four months in prison. His crime, he says, was downloading a messaging app, an act he says the state treated as evidence of supporting terrorism.
      The flow of asylum seekers crossing the Greek-Turkish border along the Evros river is rising for the first time since the peak of Europe’s migration crisis in 2015. This time, though, the increase is mainly due to Turks fleeing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his dragnet against real or imagined followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey accuses Mr. Gulen, an ex-ally turned enemy of Mr. Erdogan, of orchestrating the coup attempt.

      “We didn’t say goodbye to anyone before leaving,” said Mr. Cagar, who is now in Athens trying to find some way to get to Germany. His wife and child already made it there with the help of smugglers who have demanded a hefty price. “We began our journey with €13,000 ($14,700) and I have €1,500 left,” he said.

      Ahmed, a 30-year-old former F-16 pilot in the Turkish air force, spends his days talking to smugglers and trying to find a way out. “My dream is Canada, but the reality is Omonoia,” he said, referring to the gritty square in downtown Athens where migrants and smugglers mingle.

      A few months after the coup attempt, Ahmed said, he was dismissed, accused of Gulenist links, arrested and beaten, after another officer denounced him. He said he has no connections with Mr. Gulen’s network. He was released pending trial, but decided to flee when a prison term appeared unavoidable.

      Yilmaz Bilir, his wife Ozlem and their four children were on vacation when the coup attempt happened. Mr. Bilir, who worked at the information-technology department of Turkey’s foreign ministry, found out months later that he was suspected of Gulenist links, which he denies. The family went into hiding, staying with relatives and friends. Mr. Bilir was arrested when he briefly visited his own home and neighbors called the police. When he was released pending trial, the family decided to leave Turkey.

      Mr. Bilir made it to Germany using a forged passport and has applied for asylum there. His wife and children have applied to join him.

      Mrs. Bilir, stuck for now in Athens, remembers how happy the family was when they crossed the river Evros one summer night. “It was an endless walk, but we were happy, because we were away together,” she said. “I was so stressed in Turkey that I couldn’t sleep well for months, but that first night in detention in Greece, I finally slept.”

      After the coup, Meral Budak was suspended from her job as a teacher. Her husband was a journalist at Zaman, a major Turkish newspaper linked to Mr. Gulen’s movement. He had a valid U.S. visa and was able to travel to Canada, where he now works as an Uber driver. His 18-year-old son joined him a few months later.

      Mrs. Budak and the couple’s 15-year-old son Ali remained in Turkey and soon had their passports revoked. They went into hiding for a year. “The most traumatic memory was when I burned hundreds of books,” she said. “Even my children’s school books could be considered evidence, since the publishing companies were funded by Gulen.”
      On Jan. 1 of this year, Mrs. Budak and Ali undertook the long walk across the Evros and into Greece, where they now wait to join the rest of the family in Canada.

      “When I was walking through Greek villages, I realized my life was never going to be the same,” Mrs. Budak said. “I was walking into the unknown.”
      Read the full report on: https://www.wsj.com/articles/turks-fleeing-erdogan-fuel-new-influx-of-refugees-to-greece-1543672801

      https://turkeypurge.com/wsj-turks-fleeing-erdogan-fuel-new-influx-of-refugees-to-greece
      #réfugiés_turcs

    • Fourth migrant found dead near border, Greek ’pushback’ suspected

      Bodies of migrants keep piling up on Turkey’s border with Greece, while Greece denies it is involved in illegal “pushback” practices. Villagers in Adasarhanlı, where the body of another migrant was found earlier this week, alerted authorities after they discovered a body in a rice field, a short distance from the Turkish-Greek border, late Wednesday. The man is believed to be an illegal migrant forced to walk back to Turkey in freezing temperatures by Greek police as part of their controversial pushback practice.

      An initial investigation shows the man froze to death three days ago, and there were lesions on his body stemming from prolonged exposure to water.

      İbrahim Dalkıran, the leader of the village, said they have seen a large number of migrants recently in the area, and many took shelter, in wet clothes or half naked, in Adasarhanlı. “This is a humanitarian situation. Greece sends back migrants almost every three or four days. Some arrive injured, and we call a doctor. It is sad to see them in such a state,” Dalkıran told reporters.

      Olga Gerovasili, Greece’s minister for citizen protection whose ministry oversees border security, has denied previous allegations of pushback and told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Greece is not involved in such incidents. Yet, figures provided to AA by Turkish security sources show many illegal migrants were forced to go back to Turkey by Greek officials, with some 2,490 migrants being pushed back in November alone. The agency reports that some 300 of them were subjected to mistreatment by Greek security forces, ranging from beatings to being forced to go back half naked to the Turkish side of the border.

      Three bodies, believed to be Afghan or Pakistani migrants, were found in three villages in Edirne, the Turkish province that borders Greece. More than 70,000 illegal migrants were intercepted in Edirne between January and November, a high number compared to the 47,731 stopped last year as they tried to cross into Greece despite an increase in pushback reports.

      Under international laws and conventions, Greece is obliged to register any illegal migrants entering its territory; yet, this is not the case for some migrants. Security sources say that accounts of migrants interviewed by Turkish migration authority staff and social workers show that they are forced to return to Turkey, where they arrived from their homelands with the hope of reaching Europe.

      Pırıl Erçoban, a coordinator for the Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Mülteci-Der), says pushback constitutes a serious crime. She said it was “sad and unacceptable” that three migrants died, the number of deaths illustrates a serious problem. “It sheds light on the fact that pushback is being applied. It is still a crime to send those people back, even if they can make it back to Turkey alive,” Erçoban told AA. She says pushback was also taking place on migrant sea journeys, but has stopped, although the practice has continued on land. “Both Greece and Bulgaria are involved in this practice. Our figures show some 11,000 [illegal migrants] entered Turkey from Greece and Bulgaria, though not all of them were forced; we believe a substantial portion of returns are the result of pushback,” she said, adding returns were mostly via Greece. Erçoban said taking legal action to help migrants forced to return was difficult, as they could not reach the victims. “There should be administrative and criminal sanctions, and the culprits should be found. Turkey should take steps against pushback if [Greece] adopted it as a state policy. We hear that they are being beaten with iron bars and sent back without their clothes. This is a crime,” she added.

      Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries in hope of reaching Europe. Edirne is a primary migration route. Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management data reveals that most of the migrants come from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers increase in late summer and autumn before dropping in the winter months.

      Temperatures hover near minus zero degrees Celsius in Edirne and other provinces at the border, which also saw heavy rainfall last week. Migrants usually take boats on the Meriç River, while some try to swim across to the other side. Early yesterday, police stopped 17 Pakistani migrants who were walking on train tracks near the border.

      https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2018/12/07/fourth-migrant-found-dead-near-border-greek-pushback-suspected/amp?__twitter_impression=true
      #mourir_aux_frontières #décès #morts

    • Greece accused of migrant ’pushbacks’ at Turkey border

      Hundreds of migrants including children and families have been illegally returned from Greece to Turkey despite Greek authorities being repeatedly warned about the practice, three non-governmental organizations said Wednesday.

      Migrants being forced back over the border, in violation of international law, has become the “new normality” at the border crossing with Turkey in Greece’s northeast Evros region, the three Greek organizations said.

      The testimonies of 39 people who attempted to cross the border to Europe, collected in detention centers near the border since the spring, were published in a report by the Greek Council for Refugees, ARSIS and HumanRights360.

      In their testimonies, the migrants describe being intercepted and detained by people wearing police or military uniforms, sometimes with a hood covering their face, who then forced them onto a boat to cross the Evros River back to Turkey.

      Some migrants described being physically abused or robbed by the individuals, who mostly spoke Greek.

      The report “constitutes evidence of the practice of pushbacks being used extensively and not decreasing, regardless of the silence and denial by the responsible public bodies and authorities,” the NGOs said.

      The “particularly wide-spread practice” leaves the “state exposed and posing a threat for the rule of law in the country,” they added.

      The Greek office of the U.N. refugee agency also said it had recorded a “significant number of testimonies on informal forced returns” through the Evros border.

      “On many occasions, we have addressed those concerns to the Greek authorities requesting the investigation of incidents,” the UNHCR office said.

      “The state’s response so far to these practices has not produced the results required for an effective access to asylum.”

      Greek authorities have denied involvement in the migrant returns and have announced investigations into potential militia action, without result so far.

      The flow of migrants across the Greek-Turkish land border has almost tripled this year, according to Greece’s migration ministry, with 14,000 people intercepted so far compared to 5,400 in 2017.


      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2018/Dec-12/471620-greece-accused-of-migrant-pushbacks-at-turkey-border.ashx

    • Greece: Violent Pushbacks at Turkey Border

      Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.

      “People who have not committed a crime are detained, beaten, and thrown out of Greece without any consideration for their rights or safety,” said Todor Gardos, Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Greek authorities should immediately investigate the repeated allegations of illegal pushbacks.”

      Human Rights Watch interviewed 26 asylum seekers and other migrants in Greece in May, and in October and November in Turkey. They are from Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen, and include families traveling with children. They described 24 incidents of pushbacks across the Evros River from Greece to Turkey.

      Most incidents took place between April and November. All of those interviewed reported hostile or violent behavior by Greek police and unidentified forces wearing uniforms and masks without recognizable insignia. Twelve said police or these unidentified forces accompanying the police stripped them of their possessions, including their money and personal identification, which were often destroyed. Seven said police or unidentified forces took their clothes or shoes and forced them back to Turkey in their underwear, sometimes at night in freezing temperatures.

      Abuse included beatings with hands and batons, kicking, and, in one case, the use of what appeared to be a stun gun. In another case, a Moroccan man said a masked man dragged him by his hair, forced him to kneel on the ground, held a knife to his throat, and subjected him to a mock execution. Others pushed back include a pregnant 19-year-old woman from Afrin, Syria, and a woman from Afghanistan who said Greek authorities took away her two young children’s shoes.

      Increasing numbers of migrants, including asylum seekers, have attempted to cross the Evros River, which forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey, since April. By the end of September, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had registered 13,784 arrivals by land, a nearly fourfold increase over the same period last year.

      In early June, Turkey unilaterally suspended all returns under a bilateral readmission agreement, stopping coordinated returns over the land border. In a July letter to Human Rights Watch, Hellenic Police Director Georgios Kossioris acknowledged an “acute problem” related to new arrivals and migrants arrested in the region, causing the overcrowding in some facilities, and inhumane conditions in police stations and registration and identification centers Human Rights Watch had documented.

      Accounts gathered by Human Rights Watch are consistent with the findings of other nongovernmental groups, intergovernmental agencies, and media reports. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, has raised similar concerns. In a June report, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture said it has received “several consistent and credible allegations of pushbacks by boat from Greece to Turkey at the Evros River border by masked Greek police and border guards or (para-)military commandos.” In November, the CoE human rights commissioner called on Greece to investigate allegations, in light of information pointing to “an established practice.”

      Human Rights Watch wrote to the head of border protection of the Hellenic Police on December 6, 2018, informing them of its findings. In his reply, Police Director Kossioris categorically denied that Hellenic Police carry out forced summary returns. He said all procedures for the detention and identification of migrants entering Greece were carried out in line with relevant legislation, and that they “thoroughly investigate” any incidents of misconduct or violation of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ rights. Greek authorities have consistently denied pushback practices, including a high-ranking Greek police official in a June meeting with Human Rights Watch. For a decade, Human Rights Watch has documented systematic pushbacks by Greek law enforcement officials at its land border with Turkey.

      Greek authorities should promptly investigate in a transparent, thorough, and impartial manner repeated allegations that Greek police and border guards are involved in collective and extrajudicial expulsions at the Evros region. Authorities should investigate allegations of violence and excessive use of force. Any officer engaged in such illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers, should be subject to disciplinary sanction and, as appropriate, criminal prosecution. Anyone seeking international protection should have the opportunity to apply for asylum, and 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.

      The European Commission, which provides financial support to the Greek government for migration control, including in the Evros region, should urge Greece to end all summary returns of asylum seekers to Turkey, press the authorities to investigate allegations of violence, and open legal proceedings against Greece for violating European Union laws.

      “Despite government denials, it appears that Greece is intentionally, and with complete impunity, closing the door on many people who seek to reach the European Union through the Evros border,” Gardos said. “Greece should cease forced summary returns immediately and treat everyone with dignity and respect for their basic rights.”

      For detailed accounts from asylum seekers and migrants, please see below. Please note that all names have been changed.

      Human Rights Watch interviewed 26 people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen, including seven women, two of whom were pregnant at the time they were summarily returned to Turkey across the Evros River. In seven cases, families were pushed back, including children.

      In Greece, Human Rights Watch interviewed people who managed to re-enter Greek territory following a pushback, in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center and in the Fylakio reception and identification center, as well as in the Diavata camp for asylum seekers in Thessaloniki. In Turkey, those interviewed were in the Edirne removal center and in urban locations in Istanbul.

      All names of interviewees have been changed to protect their privacy and security. Interviews were carried out privately and confidentially, in the interviewees’ first language, or a language they spoke fluently, through interpreters. Interviewees shared their accounts voluntarily, and without remuneration, and have consented to Human Rights Watch collecting and publishing their accounts.

      Pushbacks in Evros

      The 24 incidents described demonstrate a pattern that points to an established and well-coordinated practice of pushbacks. Most of the incidents share three key features: initial capture by local police patrols, detention in police stations or informal locations close to the border with Turkey, and handover from identifiable law enforcement bodies to unidentifiable paramilitaries who would carry out the pushback to Turkey across the Evros River, at times violently. In nine cases, migrants said uniformed police physically mistreated them before or during the pushback.

      The accounts suggest close and consistent coordination between police with unidentified, often masked, men who may or may not be law enforcement officers. In a May interview with Human Rights Watch, Second Lieutenant Sofia Lazopoulou at the border police station of Neo Cheimonio said that police officers wearing dark blue uniforms were in charge of services at the police station and that those who wear military camouflage uniforms were patrolling officers, in charge of prevention and deterrence of irregular migrants crossing into Greece.

      Interviewees said that people who looked like police officers or soldiers, as well as some of the unidentified masked men, carried equipment such as handguns, handcuffs, radios, spray cans, and batons, while others carried tactical gear such as armored gloves, binoculars, and knives and military grade weapons, such as rifles.

      The repeated nature of the pushbacks and the fact that those officers who conduct them were clearly on official duty, indicates that commanding officers knew, or ought to have known, what was happening.

      Ferhat G., a Syrian Kurdish man in his forties, said two police officers detained him, his wife, and three children, ages 12, 15, and 19, at an abandoned train station on September 19. They were held in a large caged area in the backyard of a police station with dozens of other people for five hours. Ferhat could not say where the train station or police station were:

      We were all put in a van, 60 to 70 people. Commandos all in black, wearing face masks, drove us back to the river. We were very afraid… I saw other people there, mainly youths with just shorts, no other clothes. Our blood froze out of fear. When they opened the van, we started going out. “Stand in one line, one-by-one,” they said and hit someone. Ten by 10, they put us in a small boat, driven by a Greek soldier. I cried because of the humiliation.

      The modus operandi was largely replicated, with some variations, in the other cases Human Rights Watch documented.

      Capture

      Twenty-one of those interviewed said local police patrols detained them in towns and villages near the border or in open farmland. Two said that the police took them off a bus or a train shortly after its departure. Three said they could not identify the men who detained them and took them directly back to the border. People said they were then transported in police cars, pick-up trucks, white vans without windows or signs, or larger trucks painted in green or camouflage that appeared to be military trucks.

      Karim L., 25, from Morocco, said that police officers removed him from a train to Alexandropouli on November 8. Shortly after its scheduled departure from Orestiada, at 12:37 p.m., police officers began asking passengers who looked foreign to show their passports and took Karim and five or six others off the train. The police took him to a nearby police station and kept him there for two nights. Then four men wearing police uniforms and black masks took him to the border in a van. He said they subjected him to physical violence and a mock execution, then pushed him back to Turkey. He was not photographed, fingerprinted, or given any paper to read or sign, or otherwise informed of the reasons for his arrest. He said that other people, including families with children, were also detained in the station’s three cells.

      Mahsa N., an Afghan woman, said uniformed police officers removed her, her husband, their three children, ages 5, 9, and 11, and two unrelated Afghan men from a bus 15 minutes after it left Alexandropouli in mid-September, during their third attempt to enter Greece. They were pushed back to Turkey the same day, with the police who had detained them taking them all the way to the Evros River, where others were already being held so they could be returned on a boat.

      Dila E., a 25-year-old Syrian woman, described her experience shortly after crossing the Evros River in late April. She said she was with seven other people, including four children, when masked men she could not identify pushed them back to Turkey as they were walking in a small town near the border:

      They came with a car and took us. They put us in a white van. You couldn’t see anything from the inside. They took us directly to the river and made us cross the river with a rubber boat. They took everyone’s mobile phones, set of clothes, and even the money from some.

      Malik N., a 26-year-old Moroccan man, said uniformed police stopped him along with three other men on November 13 near a gas station in Didymoteicho, a town two kilometers from the border. He said that one of the policemen made a phone call, and a white van arrived 15 minutes later. Two men he could not identify took him and two of his group to a location that he described as barracks: “They put us in the car, which was very well made, dark inside, and without seats. There were no signs on it. … There was a terrible smell [in the barracks], and officials had their masks on… There were 30 people there.”

      Masked men took him to the border the next evening:

      After the masked people came, they started to shout at us, and hit us one by one with batons at the door. There were around eight people outside the barracks, each with a thick plastic baton. They would hit you as you walked to the car. They would shout “Fuck Islam.” They put 30 of us in the van. [There were] no chairs. I felt like I was suffocating, there was no air. When we arrived at the river, they ordered people to strip to shorts only. They took my phones, my money, €1,500, and my glasses, and broke them.

      Sardar T., 18, from Afghanistan, said that uniformed police caught him and the group of people he was traveling with at the Didymoteicho bus station on April 23. He said the police came with a white van but later brought a big car, similar to a military truck with green camouflage. Human Rights Watch researchers saw a vehicle matching Sardar’s description parked in the yard of the border police station of Neo Cheimonio, as well as numerous white vans, without police signs. Sardar said that the officers who pushed them back to Turkey were wearing police uniforms and that masks concealed their faces except for their eyes.

      Detention

      Thirteen of those interviewed reported that they were detained in formal and informal locations close to the border, for periods ranging from a few hours to five days. Five said they were taken to a police station, while eight described buildings on the outskirts of nearby villages and towns, or on farmland that they said were used as drop-off points for detained migrants. None of the interviewees, even those held at police stations, were duly identified and registered, and their detention appears to have been arbitrary and incommunicado.

      A few dozen to one hundred people were detained at a time, without food, water, and sanitation, and then taken to the Evros River and returned to Turkey. Interviewees described the rooms in the unidentified buildings as “prison-like” and “like a storage room,” with a few mattresses and a single, filthy toilet. They said women and families with children were either held together with unrelated men, or sometimes in adjacent rooms.

      Mahsa, the Afghan woman who was summarily returned to Turkey three times, said she and her family were kept for five days, along with unrelated men who were also detained, in a dark room with no beds or heat before the second pushback, in late August. They were not given any food. Their belongings, including winter coats for her young children, and a cherished backpack and doll, were never returned. Up to 10 guards, wearing belts with what appeared to be handguns, batons, and pepper spray, would check on people and lock the door but not provide any information. She saw guards beating men staying in the same room: “They had a blue uniform with writing on it in Greek on the back, with big letters. They called us dirt.”

      Azadeh B., a 22-year-old Afghan woman traveling with her husband and two children, ages 2 and 4, said they were pushed back twice from Greece – and had spent five days in detention before being returned the second time, in early October. She said they were taken to a room in a structure located in the middle of farmland:

      We could not see or hear anything. We were not asked to sign anything or told anything. The guards closed the door and locked it. When families asked for water, they filled dirty bottles and threw them inside the room through the door. They took everything from us, even the Quran. We asked them to give back our kids’ shoes, but they didn’t. They do this because they don’t want us to come back. If it’s something of value, they keep it, something they don’t like, they put it in the bin.

      She said only the children were given some biscuits while detained in a room that was about 40 square meters and shared by about 80 people whom she believed were also all migrants.

      Hassan I., a Tunisian man in his thirties, said that before being violently pushed back along with four friends in early August, they spent a day in detention. He said the location resembled a military base because they saw military vehicles, including trucks and tanks, parked near the room in which they were held. It was a 15-minute drive from the town of Orestiada, where they had been stopped and picked up in the morning by two police officers in blue uniforms in a civilian car.

      The policemen drove them to the location, where guards violently pushed them against a wall, searched them, and hit them. “First, they asked for phones, then for money,” Hassan said. They were shouting ‘malaka’ [a Greek insult meaning ‘asshole’]. I was shocked. I felt humiliated. When we tried to ask for anything, like our sim cards, memory cards, they hit us immediately.” Hassan and his friends were put in a room that looked like a storage room. In an adjacent room, they could hear the voices of families with children. Hassan estimated that by 9 p.m., when they were taken to the border in trucks, about 80 men were in his room of about 24 square meters, in which there were only a few chairs, a toilet, and a water tap.

      Zara Z., 19 and four-months pregnant, from Afrin, Syria, said that in mid-May, men wearing camouflage uniforms stopped her and her husband and detained them overnight in a room without bedding or furniture, together with other migrant families, and without any food or water. The next day they were transferred in a van to the Evros River, put on a boat, and pushed back to Turkey.

      Pushbacks across the Evros River

      All those interviewed said they were transported to the border with Turkey in groups of 60 to 80, in military trucks or unmarked vans. In all but three cases, the agents wore face masks, black pants, or camouflage, making it impossible to recognize or identify them. In the three other cases, interviewees said police in regular blue and camouflage uniforms transported them to the river. Ten out of 26 interviewees said they were physically abused or witnessed others being ill-treated during the pushback operation.

      Karim, a 25-year-old Moroccan man, said Greek police handed him over to masked men wearing police uniforms after they caught him in Greece on November 10 and that he was violently pushed back to Turkey. After ordering him to take off his clothes and shoes, two of the masked officers kicked him to the ground and hit him with a baton, then one of them subjected him to a mock execution. They dragged him by his hair and forced him to kneel on the ground, while the masked officer held a knife to his throat and said in broken English, “Whoever returns to Greece, they will die.” Karim said he could not sleep at night and was experiencing recurrent nightmares.

      Hassan, the Tunisian who was pushed back with his four friends on August 10 or 11, said that masked men wearing black clothes ill-treated them after taking them to the border in a truck. One of the men used a stun gun on Hassan’s lower back, causing burns that were still visible over two months later. He provided video footage of the group’s injuries, which he said was recorded the day after the incident and was first posted on social media on August 12, showing several bruises he said resulted from blows to their upper and lower backs and limbs. “Next time I will see you,” one of the masked men told him in English, “I will kill you.” At the time of the interview, Hassan had been sleeping in parks in Istanbul, after all his belongings were confiscated in Greece.

      Amir B., a Tunisian man in his twenties, was pushed back to Turkey at the end of September after entering Greece and hiding for six days. He said he was returned from near Alexandropouli to the border in one of two military trucks, which together took around 80 people to the border, including about 30 women and a few children. Amir said masked men pushed people around as they got off the trucks, and then pushed them toward the river, ordering them to remain silent. The agents then split the group into smaller groups of 10 and ordered them to take off their shoes. Women had to give up their coats, while some men had to strip to underwear. Amir’s jeans, where he also kept his money, were set on fire. When a black pick-up truck arrived with a small boat, the guards checked the other side of the river with binoculars, and then used the small boat to take the groups of 10 in turn across the water.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/18/greece-violent-pushbacks-turkey-border

      #vidéo:
      Greek Authorities Beat, Push Back Migrants into Turkey
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2olpuc_tqA

    • El oscuro secreto de la frontera oriental de Europa

      Grecia deporta ilegalmente a los refugiados que llegan a su territorio, en algunos casos incluso secuestrándolos lejos de la frontera, según denuncian ONG y Acnur.

      Firas debería estar en Grecia. Es más, oficialmente, según los registros del Gobierno heleno y del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR), reside en Grecia. Pero no. Este sirio, de 17 años, malvive amedrentado, sin dinero y sin papeles en un pequeño apartamento de Estambul que comparte con otros refugiados, después de haber sido deportado ilegalmente por la policía griega a Turquía en tres ocasiones. Una práctica prohibida por las leyes internacionales, pero que, según las organizaciones de derechos humanos, se está convirtiendo en “sistemática” a medida que la ruta migratoria de entrada a la Unión Europea se desvía hacia la frontera del río Evros. Acnur ha recabado unos 300 casos de devoluciones en caliente de personas que intentan llegar a la UE desde Turquía solo en 2018.

      “En los últimos años hemos recabado un número significante de casos de pushback [término en inglés para referirse a esta práctica ilegal]”, explica Margaritis Petritzikis, representante de Acnur en el campo de detención de Fylakio, en Grecia, junto al Evros. “Los testimonios describen a quienes practican las detenciones vistiendo uniformes de diferentes colores, muchas veces sin distintivos, y con la cara cubierta, por lo que no sabemos a qué cuerpo pertenecen. La jurisdicción del control fronterizo es de la policía griega, pero el área que rodea el río es zona militarizada”, añade Petritzikis.

      Los detenidos aseguran que, una vez detenidos y antes de ser devueltos en barcas al otro lado de la frontera, son llevados a almacenes, instalaciones militares o comisarías de policía, transportados con furgonetas sin identificar, supuestamente de las fuerzas de seguridad, según los testimonios recogidos en informes de diversas ONG, entre ellas Human Rights Watch y el Greek Council for Refugees (GCR).

      El Evros, también llamado Maritsa, hace de barrera natural a lo largo de 194 de los 206 kilómetros de frontera terrestre entre Turquía y Grecia; el resto lo cubre una valla levantada en 2012. Para aquellos migrantes y refugiados que, desde suelo turco, sueñan con alcanzar territorio europeo, son apenas 100 o 200 metros que cubrir en un bote hinchable, un trayecto mucho más corto que el que separa la costa turca de las islas griegas del mar Egeo. Además, aquí no está vigente el acuerdo firmado entre la UE y Turquía en 2016, que permite la devolución de aquellos migrantes llegados de manera irregular por vía marítima. En la zona del Evros regía otro acuerdo bilateral de devolución firmado entre Turquía y Grecia, aunque Ankara lo canceló el pasado año. Por ello, en los últimos años, se ha incrementado el número de llegadas a través de esta ruta (en 2018 fueron 18.014, un 35% del total de refugiados y migrantes que arribaron a Grecia, según los datos de Acnur). La mayor parte de los que llegan son sirios, afganos y turcos.

      Sus aguas aparentemente tranquilas son un espejismo engañoso. Es un río caudaloso, de habituales inundaciones y fuertes corrientes: durante el pasado año, medio centenar de personas murieron en esta ruta, la mayoría ahogadas o por hipotermia. “El río es pequeño, pero peligroso. Sobre todo porque los botes son para cinco personas y cruzamos 30 a la vez”, explica un joven bangladesí detenido en el campo de Fylakio.

      Un residente de Edirne, en la orilla turca del río, explica que las tarifas que exigen los traficantes por pasar al otro lado van de 1.000 a 5.000 euros. Aquellos que pagan más “reciben un servicio vip”, y en la orilla griega les esperan otros traficantes que los llevan en coche hasta Salónica o Atenas: “A estos no los suele detener nunca la policía”. A los que no disponen de ese dinero, después de superar el peligro de las aguas les aguarda una nueva barrera.
      Práctica ilegal

      Dos y media de la madrugada. Se escuchan pasos entre la maleza, en la zona boscosa que rodea el Evros. Hay cuchicheos. Los pasos se detienen al escuchar el vehículo en el que viaja este periodista. Poco después, se alejan.

      Anteriormente, en cuanto veían a cualquier persona en la orilla griega, los refugiados se identificaban como tales y pedían que se avisase a la policía. Sabían que habían llegado a territorio seguro. Ya no. Entre los refugiados es sabido que, si son apresados en esta zona, corren el riesgo de ser devueltos al otro lado. Las devoluciones en caliente están prohibidas por la ley: la normativa exige que sean primero identificados y, si es el caso, se les permita presentar una petición de asilo. Firas (que no es su nombre real) cuenta que pasó por ello dos veces durante el año pasado. En la primera ocasión, durante el verano, explica que fue detenido nada más cruzar el río, llevado a una comisaría y devuelto a Turquía al cabo de unas seis horas. “En la comisaría nos pegaron a todos los hombres, nos quitaron nuestras pertenencias y destrozaron los móviles”, asegura.

      La segunda fue aún peor: una vez capturados, Firas explica que los agentes de policía llamaron a otros agentes con uniforme militar y la cara cubierta y les propinaron una paliza. Esta vez les quitaron hasta la ropa y los devolvieron a Turquía en calzoncillos. Su historia es similar a las decenas de testimonios recabados por diferentes ONG, que consideran que puede haber un patrón de actuación de las fuerzas de seguridad helenas.

      En algunos casos no se trata ni siquiera de devoluciones «en caliente», es decir, al ser detenidos en el borde mismo de la frontera, sino desde bastante más adentro en el territorio griego y pasado bastante tiempo desde que los refugiados entraron al país. A. A., un sirio que residía en Alemania de manera legal, llegó en agosto de 2017 a la ciudad griega de Alejandrópolis para encontrarse con su mujer, que había cruzado recientemente la frontera. Pero, según manifestó al GCR, fue detenido por agentes de la policía que, haciendo caso omiso a sus documentos, lo encapucharon y lo enviaron a Turquía en un bote junto a otros refugiados.

      Similar es el caso de Firas. La tercera vez que intentó cruzar a Grecia, a mediados de noviembre, explica que lo logró. Y fue enviado al centro de detención de Fylakio. A inicios de enero, salió de él con los documentos que lo acreditaban como solicitante de asilo. Tomó un autobús hacia Salónica, pero cuenta que, cuando llevaba 15 minutos de viaje, la policía le ordenó bajar junto a otros cinco sirios. “Tenía los papeles de la policía griega y de Acnur, pero los destrozaron delante de mí”, relata. “Nos llevaron a un calabozo y agentes con pasamontañas nos desnudaron y nos pegaron. No nos dieron agua ni comida. El segundo día, vinieron otros agentes y nos pegaron con tubos de cañería. Luego nos llevaron al río junto a varias familias con niños y nos devolvieron a Turquía”.

      La respuesta del Gobierno griego es siempre la misma: “No existen estas prácticas”. Así lo han dicho públicamente los ministerios de Orden Público y Migraciones ante las quejas formales de ACNUR y el Consejo de Europa. La comandancia regional en Tracia de la policía griega, preguntada por la situación, redirigió a este periodista al comisario de Orestíada, Pascalis Siritudis, quien respondió al teléfono —un día después de haberse negado a recibirlo— con gran enfado: "La policía griega respeta siempre la ley y las normas internacionales. No olvide que esta es la frontera de la Unión Europea, no solo de Grecia”. Desde el Ministerio de Orden Público, la contestación fue similar: «La policía griega cumple con los derechos humanos».

      Hay varias investigaciones en marcha. Una, sobre la devolución de varios turcos en mayo de 2017, ha alcanzado el Tribunal Supremo de Grecia. También el Defensor del Pueblo y la Fiscalía de Orestíada han iniciado un proceso judicial tras la denuncia de un ciudadano sudanés deportado ilegalmente a Turquía. Pero, hasta ahora, nadie ha sido condenado. Dimitris Koros, abogado del GCR, admite que es difícil armar estos casos: “La mayoría de los refugiados devueltos no tienen tiempo ni medios para iniciar un proceso judicial y, además, es casi imposible identificar a quienes participan en las devoluciones ya que van con la cara cubierta y sin identificaciones, y se suelen producir de noche”.

      Entretanto Firas continúa en Estambul, temeroso de que un día lo detengan las autoridades turcas y lo deporten a la misma Siria de la que escapó huyendo de la guerra. Y se sigue preguntando por qué lo echaron de Grecia si tenía derecho a quedarse. “Me sorprendió mucho el nivel de brutalidad que emplearon conmigo. Siempre habíamos escuchado que la Unión Europea era un lugar donde no había violencia y se respetaban los derechos humanos”, se queja.

      https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/03/03/actualidad/1551607634_105978.html

    • Turkish computer science student missing in Evros following failed attempt to escape to Greece

      21-year-old university student #Mahir_Mete_Kul has been missing since the boat he used to cross Evros river between Greece and Turkey capsized on March 24.

      A computer science student at Istanbul’s Beykent University, Kul spent 10 months in prison on charges of membership to the leftist group, Liseli Dev-Genc, and was released 5 months ago with judicial control, media reported. As the court in charge put an overseas travel ban on his passport, Kul embarked on the risky journey to escape Turkey the same way thousands of others have tried over the past two years: crossing the Evros river along Turkey-Greece border in a bid to seek asylum abroad.

      “My son was a pretty young university student. They sent him up to prison. Following his release, they prevented him from going back to the school. As he had a travel ban on his passport, he chose this way [to escape],” Mahir’s mother Araz Kul spoke to Gazete Karinca. Five months ago, the mother left Turkey to Greece due to political reasons too, media said.

      Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against all kinds of opposition.

      More than 510,000 people have been detained and some 100,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer.

      Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.


      https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-computer-science-student-missing-in-evros-following-failed-atte
      #mourir_aux_frontières #morts #décès #mourir_dans_l'Evros

      L’appel de la mère :
      https://twitter.com/TurkeyPurge/status/1110989355445678080
      https://twitter.com/TurkeyPurge/status/1110990512381530113

      #réfugiés_turcs

    • À la frontière gréco-turque. Empêcher les migrants d’entrer en Europe, sauver ceux qui y parviennent

      Je copie-colle ici la partie dédiée à la région de l’Evros :

      L’Evros, région délaissée par les garde-frontières

      La gare de Marasia semble aussi abandonnée que le village éponyme. Derrière un panneau jaune et rouge signalant le passage de trains à vapeurs, un cours d’eau ruisselle dans le calme. L’Evros, large d’une dizaine de mètres à peine à cet endroit, est la plus longue rivière des Balkans, prenant sa source en Bulgarie pour se jeter dans la mer Égée, près d’Alexandroupoli. Depuis l’accord entre l’Union européenne et la Turquie et la fermeture de la route des Balkans, la pression migratoire sur la Grèce, qui se concentrait ces dernières années sur les îles en mer Égée, se déporte vers l’Evros, frontière naturelle entre la Grèce et la Turquie. “Aujourd’hui, le problème n’est plus à la barrière mais dans la rivière”, atteste Paschalis Siritoudis, le directeur de la police du département d’Orestiada.

      Un effet de vases communicants

      Cette affluence ne l’inquiète pas plus que ça. “De plus en plus de migrants arrivent ces dernières années mais c’est un vieux problème auquel la région est confrontée depuis une vingtaine d’années. Avant la construction de la barrière avec la Turquie (celle-ci longe la frontière sur 12 kilomètres dans une zone militarisée, NdlR), 30 000 migrants passaient chaque année. En 2012, nous avons lancé une opération de surveillance à la frontière, du personnel a été recruté. Les années suivantes, ce nombre est tombé entre 1 000 et 3 000 personnes. En 2018, environ 7 000 ont franchi la frontière. Ces chiffres, même s’ils sont moindres, montrent qu’il y a toujours un problème migratoire ici. Mais le flux est sous contrôle, il n’y a aucune comparaison possible avec la situation avant 2012”, martèle le colonel, d’une voix tonitruante.

      Les chiffres du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies (UNHCR) vont bien au-delà de ceux du directorat de police : en 2018, 18 014 personnes sont entrées en Grèce via l’Evros. Presque trois fois plus de personnes (dont une majorité de ressortissants turcs) que l’année précédente.

      Dès qu’une porte se ferme dans la région d’Evros, une fenêtre s’ouvre ailleurs. Et vice-versa. Quand, en juillet 2012, l’opération Aspida (“bouclier” en grec) est lancée, le nombre d’entrées à la frontière gréco-turque chute de manière vertigineuse. La première semaine du mois d’août, 2 000 migrants y sont appréhendés. Quelques mois plus tard, en octobre, moins de 10 personnes sont arrêtées par semaine.

      Les autorités compétentes et Frontex se félicitent du succès de cette opération. Les réjouissances sont cependant de courte durée : face au renforcement des contrôles à la frontière terrestre, les départs en mer se multiplient. “Immédiatement après le déploiement de l’opération Aspida, le nombre de détections de traversées illégales a augmenté, à la fois à la frontière maritime entre la Grèce et la Turquie et à la frontière terrestre avec la Bulgarie”, reconnaît Frontex dans son rapport annuel 2012, d’où sont issus les chiffres précités.

      Sur les 206 km de frontière fluviale entre la Grèce et la Turquie, seuls 12,5 kms sont terrestres et forment ce qu’on appelle le triangle de Karaağaç. C’est sur ce territoire qu’est érigée la barrière. (en rouge sur la carte)

      “Les barrières et les murs sont des solutions court-termistes à des mesures qui ne règlent pas le problème. L’Union européenne ne finane et ne financera pas cette barrière. Ça ne sert à rien.”
      Cecilia Malmström, ex-Commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures, février 2011.

      “Le problème n’est plus à la barrière mais dans la rivière” Paschalis Siritoudis, directeur de la police du département d’Orestiada

      Sept ans plus tard, l’opération Aspida est toujours en cours et semble faire la fierté de Paschalis Siritoudis. “Elle est connue dans toute la Grèce, dans toute l’Europe même ! Elle est effectuée avec le support de Frontex”, se félicite-t-il.

      Les officiers de Frontex déployés près d’Orestiada en 2010 (surtout pour identifier les migrants) pour prêter main forte aux Grecs sont partis. Aujourd’hui, l’agence européenne n’est que peu impliquée dans la région : quelques agents travaillent aux check-points et patrouillent avec des policiers et des militaires le long de la barrière de barbelés. “Nous avons parlé avec les autorités grecques pour augmenter notre présence mais la décision leur revient. Nous sommes prêts à intervenir s’ils en ressentent le besoin”, explique Eva Moncure, porte-parole de l’agence.

      À entendre Paschalis Siritoudis, ce n’est pas le cas. “Les officiers grecs qui effectuent l’enregistrement des migrants irréguliers, prennent leurs empreintes digitales et font le débriefing sont plus expérimentés que quiconque en Europe. Ils ont eu affaire à des dizaines de milliers de migrants et leur expertise est reconnue par tous”, s’exclame-t-il, assis derrière son bureau dans le commissariat d’Orestiada.

      De son côté, Frontex fait grand cas de ses compétences. “L’agence mutualise les ressources et fait appel aux États membres pour lui fournir du personnel. Il y a donc un turn-over important dans toutes les missions. Au fil des ans, nous avons toutefois développé une expertise, notamment au niveau de l’examen des documents. Avec quel genre de papiers voyagent les migrants ? Sont-ils faux ? Sont-ils vrais ? Où ont-ils été fabriqués ?”, explique Eva Moncure.

      Soumise à la bonne volonté des États membres, Frontex insiste pour pouvoir déployer ses guest officers. Ne serait-ce que pour partager les informations recueillies aux frontières avec une floppée d’institutions. Du point de vue de l’agence, plus celles-ci circulent, mieux les frontières sont protégées. Ainsi, depuis 2016, date du dernier élargissement du mandat de l’agence, Frontex est habilitée à mener des interviews sur le trafic d’êtres humains et à partager les informations récoltées avec Europol. “Nous n’enquêtons pas. Nous ne faisons que récolter des informations et les transmettons à qui de droit. Comme nous sommes en première ligne, nous pouvons obtenir ces informations plus aisément”, indique Eva Moncure. “Quand on parle de Frontex, tout le monde parle toujours des migrants mais personne ne parle des trafiquants d’êtres humains. Pour résumer, notre boulot est de surveiller les frontières, de venir en aide aux migrants s’ils sont en danger et de les renvoyer dans leur pays s’ils n’ont pas le droit d’asile en Europe. Un autre volet important, c’est de recueillir des informations sur les passeurs, les routes qu’ils utilisent, les connexions qu’ils ont, etc. Il ne faut pas oublier que les personnes qui font monter les migrants dans des bateaux ou qui leur font traverser une rivière ne sont pas des enfants de chœur. Le trafic d’êtres humains rapporte énormément d’argent, bien plus que le trafic de drogues. Le problème, c’est que pour l’instant, la justice arrête les petites mains pendant que les chefs des réseaux se la coulent douce à Dubaï en comptant leurs billets”, poursuit-elle.

      Pour rappel, les officiers ont un pouvoir exécutif lorsqu’ils sont impliqués dans l’enregistrement des migrants : prise d’empreintes digitales, screening (pour établir nationalité des migrants) et vérification des documents d’identité. En outre, ils ne peuvent délivrer de décisions relatives à l’asile puisqu’il s’agit d’un pouvoir régalien.

      Renvoyés en Turquie sur des bateaux

      Dans la région d’Evros, contrairement aux îles grecques, les agents de Frontex ne sont pas en contact avec les migrants et donc pas habilités à collecter des informations sur le trafic d’êtres humains. Laissé entre les mains des autorités grecques, l’enregistrement (et partant, le screening et l’interview) des migrants qui parviennent à entrer dans l’espace Schengen n’y semble pas garanti.

      À ce sujet, deux rapports, publiés en décembre 2018 - l’un par Humans Rights Watch et l’autre par le Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Human Rights 360 et l’Association for the Social Support of Youth - sont glaçants. Confiscation de biens (“ils jettent nos téléphones dans la rivière”, “ils ont confisqué le lait artificiel pour notre bébé”, “il a déchiré mon certificat de naissance devant moi”) et de vêtements, privation de nourriture et parfois d’eau, fouilles corporelles, violences physiques et verbales… Comble du comble : les migrants seraient reconduits de l’autre côté de la rivière Evros dans des embarcations pneumatiques.

      Ces documents font état d’une pratique courante près de la rivière : le push-back, c’est-à-dire le refoulement des personnes qui franchissent la frontière. Ces expulsions collectives (et illégales) obéissent à un modus operandi bien rôdé, à lire les nombreux témoignages récoltés par ces ONG. “La plupart des incidents partagent trois caractéristiques principales : arrestation par une patrouille de police locale, détention dans des commissariats ou des emplacements informels (entrepôts, gares abandonnées, etc.) proches de la frontière avec la Turquie et remise des migrants par les forces de l’ordre à du personnel non-identifié (dont le visage serait le plus souvent caché par une cagoule, NdlR) qui procède au push-back via la rivière Evros, parfois de manière violente”, décrit Human Rights Watch. Certaines personnes interrogées ont subi plusieurs push-backs avant d’être finalement enregistrées selon la procédure légale.

      Les migrants ne sont pas photographiés, leurs empreintes digitales ne sont pas prises et les raisons de leur arrestation ne leur sont pas expliquées. Sans enregistrement, leur présence dans l’espace Schengen n’est pas attestée et il est donc impossible d’introduire une demande d’asile. Il est en revanche possible d’assurer qu’ils n’ont jamais un pied sur le sol européen.

      Ces allégations sont remontées jusqu’au Commissaire aux droits de l’homme du Conseil de l’Europe et au Comité européen pour la prévention de la torture qui les ont jugées crédibles. Après une visite en Grèce en avril 2018, le Commissaire a par ailleurs souligné l’absence d’enquêtes sur ce genre de pratiques de la part des autorités grecques.

      Des bateaux et des chaussures d’enfants

      À Marasia, derrière le panneau jaune et rouge signalant le passage de trains à vapeur, un chemin de terre longe une forêt, qui borde l’Evros. Avec l’arrivée du printemps, des fleurs jaunes tapissent ses berges.

      Il ne faut pas marcher bien loin pour découvrir les traces d’un spectacle qui suscite malaise et interrogations. À cent mètres de la gare, une paire de rames a été abandonnée.

      Un peu plus loin, au bord de l’eau, un bateau gris et bleu est recouvert de feuilles mortes. L’inscription “Excursion 5” est écrite dessus en lettres capitales. Cinquante mètres après, un autre bateau jaune et vert se confond avec la couleur des fleurs.

      De retour sur le chemin de terre, des taches de couleur attirent le regard. Ce sont des chaussures. En daim, celles d’un adulte, à côté d’un soutien-gorge et d’un jeans délavé. À côté, deux paires de basket appartiennent à des enfants. Les plus petites, bleues, sont une pointure 26. Leur ancien propriétaire doit avoir entre trois et cinq ans. Que lui est-il arrivé ? A-t-il été reconduit en Turquie ? Ses compagnons de route ont-ils été interrogés sur le trafic d’êtres humains dont ils ont été victimes ?

      Confronté aux accusations de push-backs menés dans la région, le chef de la police élude d’abord la question et jure que les migrants interceptés sont pris en charge. Avant de finir par admettre que “nous avons reçu des informations sur les push-backs de la part des ONG”.

      Pas suffisamment pour enquêter, comme recommandé par le Commissaire européen aux droits de l’homme et le Comité européen pour la prévention de la torture.

      https://dossiers.lalibre.be/greco-turque/login.php

    • Οργανωμένο σχέδιο ανομίας στον Έβρο καταγγέλλει η « Καμπάνια για το Άσυλο »

      Την κατεπείγουσα διερεύνηση των συνεχιζόμενων καταγγελιών για τις άτυπες επιχειρήσεις επαναπροώθησης προσφύγων στον Έβρο και τον έλεγχο των εμπλεκομένων ζητούν από τους υπουργούς Προστασίας του Πολίτη, Όλγα Γεροβασίλη, Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής, Δημήτρη Βίτσα, και Δικαιοσύνης, Μιχάλη Καλογήρου, δέκα οργανώσεις που συμμετέχουν στην « Καμπάνια για το Άσυλο ».

      Σημειώνουν ότι οι υπουργοί είναι υπόλογοι για κάθε καθυστέρηση, η οποία εντείνει την πεποίθηση ότι τα σύνορα στον Έβρο αποτελούν ένα πεδίο εκτός δικαίου και εκτός νόμου και έναν τόπο μαρτυρίου για τους πρόσφυγες.

      Υπογραμμίζουν ότι ο συστηματικός τρόπος και οι ομοιότητες της κακομεταχείρισης παραπέμπουν σε οργανωμένο σχέδιο αποτροπής, στο πλαίσιο του οποίου αναπτύσσονται γενικευμένες πρακτικές, οι οποίες έγιναν πιο εκτεταμένες, συστηματικές και σκληρές μετά την υπογραφή της ευρωτουρκικής συμφωνίας το Μάρτιο του 2016. Και αναφέρουν ότι οι πρακτικές αυτές εμπίπτουν στην αρμοδιότητα της ποινικής δικαιοσύνης και στοιχειοθετούν κατά περίπτωση κακουργήματα (βασανισμός, ληστεία, έκθεση ζωής σε κίνδυνο...).

      Οι οργανώσεις (ΑΡΣΙΣ, Δίκτυο Κοινωνικής Υποστήριξης Προσφύγων και Μεταναστών, ΕΠΣΕ, Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Προσφύγων, Κίνηση για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα – Αλληλεγγύη στους Πρόσφυγες Σάμος, Κόσμος χωρίς Πολέμους και Βία, ΛΑΘΡΑ, PRAKSIS, Πρωτοβουλία για τα Δικαιώματα των Κρατουμένων, Υποστήριξη Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο) κάνουν λόγο για επιδεικτική βαρβαρότητα ένστολων ή μη στην περιοχή και παράνομες ενέργειες οι οποίες αποτελούν αντικείμενο συγκεκριμένων οδηγιών και εντολών. Σημειώνουν ότι το οργανωμένο σχέδιο περιλαμβάνει επίσης τη συγκάλυψη και νομιμοποίηση των εγκληματικών μεθόδων που χρησιμοποιούνται.

      Ολόκληρη η ανακοίνωση της « Καμπάνιας για το Άσυλο » έχει ως εξής :

      Απαξίωση της ανθρώπινης ζωής και της νομιμότητας οι επαναπροωθήσεις στον Έβρο

      Αθήνα, 2 Μαΐου 2019

      Τα σύνορα της χώρας στον Έβρο τείνουν να καταστούν ένας εκτός δικαίου και εκτός νόμου τόπος μαρτυρίου για τους πρόσφυγες που επιχειρούν απελπισμένα να περάσουν στο ευρωπαϊκό έδαφος, στιγματίζοντας τη χώρα μας και τους υπευθύνους για τη διαχείρισή τους.

      Ενώ παρακολουθούμε τους αυξανόμενους πνιγμούς στα σύνορα, οι καταγγελίες προσφύγων για βάρβαρες πρακτικές επαναπροώθησης συνεχίζονται. Εκτός από τον αποτροπιασμό που προκαλούν, δείχνουν επίσης ότι η άσκηση βίας και οι συστηματικές παραβιάσεις δεν αποτελούν μεμονωμένες ατομικές επιλογές, αλλά γενικευμένες πρακτικές που αναπτύσσονται στα πλαίσια ενός σχεδίου αποτροπής και προσπάθειας ενίσχυσης του « μηνύματος » αποθάρρυνσης, που « πρέπει να σταλεί » για την ανάσχεση των προσφυγικών ρευμάτων.

      Όσα εκτενώς καταγράφονται στην κοινή έκθεση του Ελληνικού Συμβούλιου για τους Πρόσφυγες, της ΑΡΣΙΣ και της HumanRights360, που δημοσιεύτηκε πρόσφατα (1), δεν αφήνουν αμφιβολία για την αλήθεια των καταγγελλόμενων. Ο συστηματικός τρόπος και οι ομοιότητες της κακομεταχείρισης παραπέμπουν σε ένα οργανωμένο σχέδιο, η εφαρμογή του οποίου επιτρέπει -αν δεν προτρέπει- παράνομες συμπεριφορές. Οι περίπολοι ενόπλων με ή χωρίς αστυνομικές και στρατιωτικές στολές, μάσκες ή κουκούλες, που μιλούν εκτός από τα ελληνικά και άλλη ευρωπαϊκή γλώσσα (συχνά αναφερόμενη η γερμανική), που δρουν με επιδεικτική βαρβαρότητα ακόμα και μπροστά σε μικρά παιδιά και οικογένειες, βία και κακοποιήσεις, αφαίρεση προσωπικών ειδών και χρημάτων, ρούχων κατά περίπτωση και συχνά υποδημάτων, αφαίρεση ή καταστροφή κινητών τηλεφώνων (για να μην καταγράφεται η παράνομη δράση), μεταφορά σε εγκαταλειμμένες αποθήκες που χρησιμεύουν ως άτυπα κρατητήρια χωρίς τροφή και νερό και χρήση φουσκωτών για την επαναπροώθηση στην Τουρκία, παραπέμπουν σε εκτέλεση συγκεκριμένων οδηγιών και εντολών, που εφαρμόζονται επιλεκτικά σε εφαρμογή προαποφασισμένου σχεδίου, που περιλαμβάνει και τη συγκάλυψη -και κατά συνέπεια νομιμοποίηση- των εγκληματικών μεθόδων που χρησιμοποιούνται κατ’ αυτές.

      Η Καμπάνια για την Πρόσβαση στο Άσυλο καταγγέλλει για ακόμα μια φορά την εφαρμογή των πρακτικών άτυπης επαναπροώθησης που έχουν επεκταθεί και καταστεί σκληρότερες και συστηματικότερες μετά την Κοινή Δήλωση αρχηγών κρατών και κυβερνήσεων ΕΕ-Τουρκίας της 18ης Μαρτίου 2016 και επισημαίνει ότι δεν αποτελούν μόνο σοβαρή παραβίαση των διεθνών υποχρεώσεων της χώρας, αλλά εμπίπτουν στην αρμοδιότητα της ποινικής δικαιοσύνης και στοιχειοθετούν κατά περίπτωση κακουργήματα (βασανισμοί, ληστείες, έκθεση σε κίνδυνο ζωής κ.ά.)

      Ζητάμε να δοθούν απαντήσεις από τις αρχές :

      Ποια σώματα ενεργούν στα σύνορα για την αποτροπή παράτυπων εισόδων.
      Υπάρχει πλαίσιο συγκεκριμένων εντολών για την περίπτωση εντοπισμού, σύλληψης και μεταχείρισης των παράτυπα εισερχόμενων και έλεγχος για τον τρόπο εφαρμογής του από τις περιπόλους ;
      Υπάρχει υποχρέωση καταγραφής των περιπόλων που ενεργούν κατά μήκος του Έβρου και υποχρεωτική αναφορά σχετικά με την πορεία που ακολουθούν καθώς και τις ενέργειες τους ;
      Ελέγχεται από την εκάστοτε προϊσταμένη αρχή η νομιμότητα των ενεργειών αυτών των περιπόλων και η τήρηση των υποχρεώσεων που επιβάλει το διεθνές δίκαιο για την προστασία των προσφύγων ;

      Η Καμπάνια για την Πρόσβαση στο Άσυλο επισημαίνει ότι τα αρμόδια και εμπλεκόμενα Υπουργεία (Προστασίας του Πολίτη, Άμυνας και Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής) αλλά και ο Υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης οφείλουν να προβούν με διαδικασίες κατεπείγοντος στη διερεύνηση των καταγγελιών και τον έλεγχο των εμπλεκόμενων σε επιχειρήσεις αποτροπής και είναι υπόλογοι για κάθε καθυστέρηση, καθώς οι συνεχιζόμενες παραβιάσεις, όσο εκφεύγουν από κάθε μορφής έλεγχο, λογοδοσία και τιμωρία, επιβεβαιώνουν την πεποίθηση ότι ο Έβρος είναι ένα εκτεταμένο πεδίο εκτός δικαίου και εκτός νόμου όπου οι πρόσφυγες είτε σπρώχνονται στο θάνατο είτε στα χέρια εγκληματικών οργανώσεων, όπου μπορεί να αναπτύσσεται ανεμπόδιστα το οργανωμένο έγκλημα και όπου η ανθρώπινη ζωή είναι εξαιρετικά φτηνή ακόμη και γι’ αυτούς που είναι υπεύθυνοι να την προστατεύουν.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/node/193572

      Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop avec ce commentaire :

      10 ONG et associations solidaires somment les Ministres de l’ordre public, de la Politique Migratoire et de la Justice d’ouvrir en toute urgence une enquête concernant les dénonciations répétées d’opérations illégales de refoulement de réfugiés à Evros (frontière fluviale gréco-turque au Nord de la Grèce) ; elles réclament aussi que tous les agents de l’état impliqués dans des telles actions fassent l’objet d’un contrôle.

      Les dix ONG qui font partie de celles ayant lancé la Campagne pour l’accès à l’asile (http://asylum-campaign.blogspot.com) font remarquer que les ministres seront tenus pour responsable de tout empêchement ou retard dans l’enquête, qui renforcerait la conviction que la frontière d’Evros est une zone de non-droit et un haut-lieu de torture pour les réfugiés (tortures, mauvais traitements, vols avec violence, mise en danger de la vie d’autrui).

      Elles soulignent que le mode opératoire quasi-identique de plusieurs opérations de refoulement et les ressemblances dans les mauvais traitements subis par les réfugiés renvoient à un plan organisé et concerté de dissuasion, dans le cadre duquel se déploient de pratiques généralisées qui sont devenus plus fréquentes, plus systématiques et encore plus dures après l’accord UE-Turquie en mars 2016.

      Les organisations Arsis , Réseau de soutien social de réfugiés et de migrants (Diktyo) Observatoire grec pour les accords d’Helsinki (Greek Helsinki Monitor ), Forum grec des réfugiés (Greek Forum of Refugees), Mouvement pour les Droits de l’Homme-Solidarité avec les Réfugiés Samos, Monde sans guerres et violence , « LATHRA » -Comité de Solidarité avec les Réfugiés de Chios, PRAKSIS , Initiative pour les droits de détenus ,

      Soutien aux Réfugiés en Egée (Refugees Support Aegean) parlent de brutalité ostentatoire de la part des policiers et de groupes paramilitaires et d’actions illégales qui ne pourraient être que le fruit de consignes précises et d’ ordres venant d’en haut. Pour les ONG, le recouvrement et la légalisation implicite de méthodes criminelles employées est partie intégrante du plan organisé de push-back.

    • “We were beaten and pushed back by masked men at Turkish-Greek border” – Turkish journalist and asylum seeker

      A group of Turkish political asylum seekers claims that, following their attempt to cross the Turkish border via Evros River in the northeast of Greece on Friday evening, they were pushed back after being beaten by masked men with batons.

      Tugba Ozkan, a journalist in the group, told IPA News on the phone that the group of 15 people fleeing persecution in Turkey crossed the Turkish-Greek border on Friday at 9 pm near Soufli, a town at Evros Regional Unit.

      When they stepped on Greek soil, however, she said a group of masked men beat them and pushed them back across the river to Turkish land, where a post-coup crackdown has persecuted tens of thousands of Turkish nationals since the abortive coup in 2016.

      A family of four from the group, including two children, disappeared after the alleged push-back. Turkish soldiers reportedly arrested the four Turkish nationals, Alpay Akinci (42), Meral Akinci (40), Okan Selim Akinci (11), and Ayse Hilal Akinci (8).

      Trying to hide from Turkish security officers, 11 people, including Ozkan, were attempting to cross the border for the second time.

      “Masked men beat us with batons. We are in a very dire situation. We are afraid to be pushed back again. We need help,” a desperate Ozkan said in dismay.

      The group of asylum seekers managed to cross the Evros safely in their second attempt, she said, and the group was attempting to hide when two Greek police cars found them.

      Greek Police detained the group at around 2 pm on Saturday near the border and took them into custody, according to the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), a non-governmental organization defending human rights and fighting against illegal push-backs in the region.

      The group applied for asylum in Greece and are expected to be released in a few days after the official registration is done, according to GCR lawyers.
      Push-back: Infamous buzzword of immigration debate glossary

      The practice that notoriously became known as “push-back,” can be defined as ‘the use of force to stop asylum seekers at borders and to return them to the country from which they came.’

      According to official numbers of the United Nations, thousands of asylum seekers and refugees from various nations cross the Turkish-Greek border illegally every year in an attempt to reach Europe to take refuge.

      Many reported push-back incidents have occurred in recent years, but no accurate figures have been revealed yet.

      One of those incidents was the case of Murat Capan, a Turkish journalist who worked for the critical Nokta magazine. According to the narrative of Hellenic League for Human Rights, Capan and a Turkish family with three children crossed the Evros river in May 2017, escaping persecution.

      The Greek police took them into custody where they asked to apply for asylum. Subsequently, they were taken to a UN facility in a van.

      According to the information put forth by Hellenic League, the van met with a car along the road and five masked men dressed in camouflage bound the hands of the Turkish nationals. Two of the masked men then escorted them back to the Turkish side of the border where they were handed over to Turkish soldiers.

      Turkish authorities had already sentenced Capan in absentia to twenty-two and a half years in prison. Following the push-back incident, the security forces sent Capan to prison to serve his term.

      Another incident included 6 Turkish asylum seekers and took place in September 2018. Two Turkish families entered Greece via Evros and as reported by a Turkish journalist in exile, Cevheri Guven, their presence in Greece can be backed by solid evidence.

      One family had their two kids with them and took their photo on a roadside cafe in Alexandroupolis.

      Guven shares the location and picture of the coffee where the photo above had been taken to display that the families were indeed in Greece.

      The families were escorted back to Turkey after appealing for asylum by the Greek police and thrown into the water by the Turkish side, according to Guven. Turkish gendarmerie caught them after hours of walking along the road and 3 adults out of 4 in the group faced arrest.

      The cases of Capan and the Yildiz family crystalize the consequences of the push-back practice, which is a widespread method apparently enforced by Greek security forces working alongside Greece’s border with Turkey, according to the work of several NGOs.

      Greek NGOs, including GCR, HumanRights360, and ARSIS, released a report on the push-back practice in December 2018.

      The report, dubbed “The new normality: Continuous push-backs of third-country nationals on the Evros river,” includes testimonies of 39 people who tried to cross the Evros river to enter Greece, but who were pushed back to Turkey, often violently.

      The report of the NGOs concludes that “the practice of push-backs constitutes a particularly wide-spread practice, often employing violence in the process.”

      GCR, HumanRights360, and ARSIS have urged authorities to take action against the practice, which they label as “a threat to the rule of law” in Greece.

      According to a 2012 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, push-back policy breaches international law, including the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      International laws are clear on peoples’ rights to seek protection from persecution in other countries, and the latter is obliged to process these requests in order to avoid the risk of endangering people who have a legitimate claim to protection.

      https://ipa.news/2019/04/28/we-were-beaten-and-pushed-back-by-masked-men-at-turkish-greek-border-turkish-j

    • Three Kurdish children drown as more refugees try to make their way into Greece

      THREE KURDISH have perished while trying to cross from Turkey into Greece when the boat they were in capsized.

      The children were from the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil and drowned in Maritsa River.

      “In the early hours of today, around 3 am, a boat carrying thirteen immigrants who wanted to cross from Turkey to Greece through the Evros River overturned and two children drowned. One child died due to the cold weather,” said Ari Jalal, a representative of Federation of Iraqi Refugees in Kurdistan, in an interview with Kurdish Rudaw.

      Jalal further said the body of one child is yet to be found. “The search continues. We are in contact with the consulates of Iraq, Turkey and Greece after the tragic boat incident. The other immigrants were rescued by Greek police,” Jalal said.

      Turkey is used as a key and main route by thousands of refugees who want to cross into Europe through Greece, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

      According to Greece police, the number of migrants registered and arrested after crossing the border was 3,543 by last October, an 82% increase over the same month in the preceding year.


      https://ipa.news/2019/02/04/three-kurdish-children-drown-as-more-refugees-try-to-make-their-way-into-greec
      #décès #morts

    • The new normality: Continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river

      The Greek Council for Refugees, ARSIS-Association for the Social Support of Youth and HumanRights360 publish this report containing 39 testimonies of people who attempted to enter Greece from the Evros border with Turkey, in order to draw the attention of the responsible authorities and public bodies to the frequent practice of push-backs that take place in violation of national, EU law and international law.

      The frequency and repeated nature of the testimonies that come to our attention by people in detention centres, under protective custody, and in reception and identification centres, constitutes evidence of the practice of pushbacks being used extensively and not decreasing, regardless of the silence and denial by the responsible public bodies and authorities, and despite reports and complaints denouncements that have come to light in the recent past.
      The testimonies that follow substantiate a continuous and uninterrupted use of the illegal practice of push-backs. They also reveal an even more alarming array of practices and patterns calling for further investigation; it is particularly alarming that the persons involved in implementing the practice of push-backs speak Greek, as well as other languages, while reportedly wearing either police or military clothing. In short, we observe that the practice of push-backs constitutes a particularly wide-spread practice, often employing violence in the process, leaving the State exposed and posing a threat for the rule of law in the country.
      Τhe organizations signing this report urge the competent authorities to investigate the incidents described, and to refrain from engaging in any similar action that violates Greek, EU law, and International law.

      https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1028-the-new-normality-continuous-push-backs-of-third-country-nationals-on-the-e

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:


      https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/download/492_22e904e22458d13aa76e3dce82d4dd23

    • Απάντηση Γεροβασίλη για τις επαναπροωθήσεις

      Επιστολή στον επικεφαλής της Υπατης Αρμοστείας στην Ελλάδα, Φιλίπ Λεκλέρκ, έστειλε η Όλγα Γεροβασίλη απαντώντας στη δική του στην όποια, όπως αναφέρει υπουργός Προστασίας του Πολίτη, « παρατίθενται περιγραφές και μαρτυρίες μεταναστών για περιστατικά και πρακτικές προσώπων, που φέρονται να ανήκουν σε Σώματα Ασφαλείας, στην περιοχή του Έβρου.

       »Συγκεκριμένα, οι αναφορές αφορούν σε άτυπες αναγκαστικές επιστροφές στην Τουρκία, χωρίς την τήρηση των νόμιμων διαδικασιών, σε περιστατικά βίας και σοβαρών παραβιάσεων των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, καθώς και σε περιστατικά σύμφωνα με τα οποία δεν επετράπη η πρόσβαση προσφύγων και μεταναστών στο μηχανισμό του ασύλου.

      Η κ. Γεροβασίλη υποστηρίζει πως « οι καταγγελλόμενες συμπεριφορές και πρακτικές ουδόλως υφίστανται ως επιχειρησιακή δραστηριότητα και πρακτική του προσωπικού των Υπηρεσιών Συνοριακής Φύλαξης, το οποίο κυρίως εμπλέκεται σε δράσεις για την αντιμετώπιση του φαινομένου της παράνομης μετανάστευσης στα ελληνοτουρκικά σύνορα. Από την διερεύνηση των μέχρι σήμερα καταγγελλομένων περιστατικών και από τις εσωτερικές έρευνες που έχουν πραγματοποιηθεί από τις αρμόδιες Υπηρεσίες, προκύπτει το συμπέρασμα ότι αυτά δεν δύνανται να επιβεβαιωθούν ».

      Ισχυρίζεται δε ότι « η εμπειρία, ο επαγγελματισμός και το ήθος του αστυνομικού προσωπικού των Υπηρεσιών Συνοριακής Φύλαξης, δεν αφήνουν ουδεμία αμφιβολία ότι το έργο της διαχείρισης συνόρων επιτελείται με υψηλό αίσθημα ευθύνης και ανθρωπισμού. Προς επίρρωση αυτού, σημειώνεται ότι, στον ποταμό Έβρο έχουν λάβει χώρα, πολλές φορές υπό άκρως αντίξοες συνθήκες, επιχειρήσεις διάσωσης μεταναστών που κινδύνευαν από πνιγμό, από το αστυνομικό προσωπικό, το οποίο και με κίνδυνο της ζωής του επιδιώκει την προστασία της ζωής των μεταναστών όταν εγκλωβίζονται σε επικίνδυνα σημεία του ποταμού Έβρου, αποσπώντας θετικά σχόλια από την κοινή γνώμη.

      Επίσης, η υπουργός σημειώνει πως « οι Έλληνες αστυνομικοί που πραγματοποιούν εθνικές επιχειρησιακές δράσεις επιτήρησης συνόρων στην περιοχή του Έβρου, τα τελευταία έτη, υποστηρίζονται από Φιλοξενούμενους Αξιωματούχους διαφόρων ειδικοτήτων, στο πλαίσιο Κοινών Επιχειρήσεων του Frontex που υλοποιούνται στην περιοχή. Ο εν λόγω Ευρωπαϊκός Οργανισμός ενισχύει την επίγνωση της κατάστασης και την επιχειρησιακή ανταπόκριση στα ελληνοτουρκικά χερσαία σύνορα. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, ουδέποτε έγινε αναφορά από ξένους Φιλοξενούμενους Αξιωματούχους του Frontex, περιστατικού παράτυπης επαναπροώθησης ή παραβίασης δικαιώματος μεταναστών, με εμπλοκή ελλήνων αστυνομικών ».

      Στην επιστολή επισημαίνεται πως « τόσο σε κεντρικό όσο και σε περιφερειακό επίπεδο, το αστυνομικό προσωπικό λαμβάνει ειδικότερες οδηγίες και διαταγές, ενώ παρακολουθεί και εκπαιδευτικά προγράμματα, σχετικά με την προστασία των θεμελιωδών δικαιωμάτων των μεταναστών, με ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στις ευάλωτες ομάδες. Οι οδηγίες εστιάζουν στην προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής και αξιοπρέπειας, την αποφυγή των διακρίσεων, την νόμιμη χρήση βίας και την αρχή της μη-επαναπροώθησης. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, το αστυνομικό προσωπικό εποπτεύεται και αξιολογείται σε μόνιμη βάση, από την ιεραρχία του σώματος.

      Τέλος, η κ. Γεροβασίλη υπενθυμίζει ότι « η Ελλάδα έχει διαχειρισθεί αποτελεσματικά, από το 2015 μέχρι και σήμερα, περισσότερους από 1.350.000 πρόσφυγες/μετανάστες, έχοντας ως γνώμονα την προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής και αξιοπρέπειας. Ειδικότερα, επισημαίνεται πώς, κατά το πρώτο 4μηνο του 2019 στην περιοχή δικαιοδοσίας των Δ.Α. Ορεστιάδας και Αλεξανδρούπολης έχουν πραγματοποιηθεί 3.130 συλλήψεις υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών, γεγονός που έρχεται σε αντίθεση με τις καταγγελίες περί επαναπροωθήσεων. Επιπλέον και κατά το συγκεκριμένο χρονικό διάστημα που αναφέρεται στις καταγγελίες (25-29.04.2019), πραγματοποιήθηκαν στην συγκεκριμένη περιοχή 101 συλλήψεις υπηκόων τρίτων χωρών ».

      https://www.efsyn.gr/node/193868

      Traduction de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      La ministre grecque de Protection du Citoyen (euphémisme pour l’Ordre Public) Olga Gerovassili a démenti les accusations de refoulements illégaux à Evros –frontière nord-est de la Grèce avec la Turquie. En réponse à la lettre que lui avait adressée Philippe Leclerc, représentant de l’UNHCR en Grèce, où celui-ci évoque des témoignages des migrants concernant des mauvais traitements et des refoulements effectués par des forces de sécurité de la région d’Evros, la ministre a tout nié en bloc.

      Philippe Leclerc faisait état des témoignages qui dénoncent d’une part des renvois forcés vers la Turquie, sans que les procédures légales soient respectées, et d’autre part des violences et des violations graves des droits humains, ainsi que des cas où on a interdit aux réfugiés et aux migrants l’accès au mécanisme de l’asile.

      Mme Gerovassili soutient que « les comportements et les pratiques dénoncées ne font nullement partie des modes opératoires et des pratiques du personnel de la Garde-Frontière, qui est surtout impliqué à des actions de contrôle du phénomène d’immigration illégale aux frontières gréco-turques. L’investigation des incidents dénoncés jusqu’à aujourd’hui et les enquêtes internes réalisées par les services compétents ont conduit à la conclusion que ces incidents ne peuvent pas être confirmés ».

      La ministre prétend que « l’expérience, le professionnalisme et l’éthos du personnel policier de la Garde-Frontière, ne laissent aucun doute sur le fait qu’ils opèrent avec un très haut sens de responsabilité et d’humanisme. Pour corroborer ce fait, elle souligne le fait qu’à Evros des opérations de sauvetage ont eu lieu plusieurs fois sous de conditions extrêmement dangereuses : les policiers opèrent au péril de leur propre vie pour la protection de la vie des migrants, lorsque ceux-ci sont bloqués à des endroits dangereux du fleuve Evros.

      La ministre ajoute que les officiers de Frontex qui sont impliqués dans des opérations conjointes avec les policiers grecs n’ont jamais dénoncé des cas de refoulement illégal ou de violation de droit de migrants de la part des agents grecs.

      Dans la lettre que la ministre a adressée à Philippe Leclerc, il est dit que le personnel policier agit sous des consignes et ordres spécifiques, tandis qu’il est souvent amené à suivre des programmes de formation spécifiques à la protection des droits fondamentaux de migrants. D’après la ministre, les consignes données mettent en avant la nécessité de protéger la vie et la dignité humaine, d’éviter toute discrimination, de s’en tenir à l’usage légal de la violence et au principe du non-refoulement. « Dans ce cadre, les agents de police sont contrôlés et évalués en continu, par leurs supérieurs hiérarchiques », dit la ministre.

      Enfin Mme Gerovassili met en avant le fait que 3.130 arrestations de ressortissants de pays tiers ont été effectuées pendant les quatre premiers mois de 2019 dans les régions d’Orestiada et d’Alexandroupolis- proches d’Evros- ce qui, d’après la ministre, contredit les accusations de refoulements illégaux. « Qui plus est, pendant la période précise où les faits dénoncés auraient pu avoir lieu (25-29.04.2019), 101 arrestations de ressortissants de pays tiers ont eu lieu dans cette région ».

      Avec ce commentaire :

      N’en déplaise à la ministre, les faits sont têtus et aucun démenti ne saurait entamer la crédibilité de rapports des ONG et des témoignages comme ceux par ex. rapportés par le Conseil Grec pour les Réfugiés

      https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1067-gcr-and-cear-publish-a-joint-video-documenting-the-harsh-reality-of-pushbac

    • Εvros Pushbacks

      The Greek Council for Refugees and CEAR (C​omisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado), with the support of the Municipality of Madrid, publish together a video on pushbacks in Evros, today, March 20, three years since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement, of which the consequences are obvious in Greece’s northern border, as well as on the Eastern Aegean islands. The shattering testimonies of people who attempted to enter Greece from the Turkish border and were violently pushed back to Turkey, without ever being given the opportunity to apply for asylum, reveal the systematic nature of the pushbacks practice, in direct violation of Greek, EU and international law.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAyuOlohOss


      #routes_migratoires #accord_UE-Turquie #parcours_migratoires #Pavlos_Pavlidis #identification #corps

      Le #cimetière :


      ... qui ne semble plus être le même que celui qu’on avait visité en 2012 :

    • Ces migrants mystérieusement refoulés de Grèce en Turquie

      C’est un sujet qui, régulièrement, vient mettre en porte-à-faux les autorités grecques : l’accueil des migrants qui traversent le fleuve Evros. Frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce, ce fleuve sert de point d’entrée en Europe pour les migrants venus d’Asie, d’Afrique ou tout simplement de Turquie.

      Et si la traversée du fleuve n’est pas insurmontable, en revanche, les conditions d’accueil sont sujettes à critique par les ONG et même par les migrants.

      L’équipe d’euronews à Athènes en a rencontrés. Ils racontent comment les policiers grecs ont pour habitude de les refouler, sans ménagement.

      Mikail est turc, demandeur d’asile en Grèce. Il explique qu’il a traversé le fleuve avec un groupe de 11 personnes. Lorsqu’ils sont arrivés sur le sol grec, des policiers les ont arrêtés. « Les types portaient des tenues militaires, raconte-t-il. Et ils avaient des matraques. On aurait dit qu’ils partaient en guerre. Nous, on a essayé de comprendre pourquoi ils se comportaient ainsi. Ils nous ont simplement dit : "On va vous renvoyer chez vous". »

      « Mes enfants étaient à côté de moi, ajoute Gulay, réfugiée turque_. Ils m’ont dit : "Maman, y vont nous tuer ?" Je leur ai dit : "Non, ils ne vont pas nous tuer. Ils veulent juste nous renvoyer en Turquie"._ »

      Le groupe de ces 11 migrants parviendra malgré tout à rester en Grèce. D’autres n’ont pas eu cette chance.

      Le 4 mai, trois personnes, deux hommes et une jeune femme, ont traversé le fleuve. Craignant d’être refoulés, ils ont prévenu un proche vivant déjà en Grèce ainsi qu’un avocat. Ils ont envoyé une photo prise dans la ville de #Nea_Vyssa.


      https://twitter.com/zubeyirkoculu/status/1124764045024821249?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https

      Ils ont ensuite été emmenés dans un commissariat de police à Neo Xeimonio. Et là, on a perdu leur trace. On a appris plus tard qu’ils avaient été renvoyés en Turquie, et qu’ils étaient désormais emprisonnés dans la ville turque d’Edirne.

      Ishan, le frère de la jeune femme raconte qu’il est allé au commissariat de police pour savoir ce qui était advenue de sa sœur. « Je leur ai dit : "je sais que ma sœur a été arrêtée et qu’elle était ici". Ils m’ont juste dit : "On n’est au courant de rien". »

      « Nous avons sollicité les autorités grecques pour en savoir davantage sur cette affaire, ajoute Michalis Arampatzoglou, journaliste d’euronews . Le ministère de la Protection civile a dit n’avoir aucune information sur cet incident. Pour autant, des cas comme celui-là, il y en a de plus en plus. Les avocats des victimes comptent engager des poursuites judiciaires, pour que enquêtes soient menées et que la lumière soit faite. »

      https://fr.euronews.com/2019/05/16/ces-migrants-mysterieusement-refoules-de-grece-en-turquie


    • https://twitter.com/zubeyirkoculu/status/1124764045024821249?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https

      Je copie-colle ici le thread twitter:

      Breaking: 3 Turkish nationals, Kamil Y, Ayse E, Talip N, have crossed the Turkish-Greek border through Evros on May 4 at 5 am, they were taken into custody at #Xeimonio police station. A family member and a lawyer in the region, however, were told by the Police they are absent.
      Ms. Ayse E. sent her location at Xeimonio before they were detained, she also shared a video urging Greek authorities to stop any possible push-back.
      We are Turkish political asylum seekers. We fled persecution back in Turkey and crossed Evros on May 4 at 5 am. We are hiding near Nea Vyssa in fear of push-back. We urge the United Nations and Greek authorities to protect us from being pushed back."

      The latest live location Ms. Ayse shared with me was from #Xeimonia Police station which proves 3 Turkish asylum seekers taken into custody. The Greek police currently inform their lawyer that there are no such persons in the custody which might mean another push-back on the way.

    • ’Masked men beat us with batons’: Greece accused of violent asylum seeker pushbacks

      Scores of Turkish asylum seekers have been pushed back — sometimes violently — from Greece in the last three weeks, lawyers and family members told Euronews.

      Witnesses claim various groups of masked men in military uniform, as well as those in plain clothes collaborating with the police, used physical force against those who resisted.

      There have been 82 people from Turkey, including children, that have sought political asylum in neighbouring Greece and been sent back since April 23.

      Around half have been detained or arrested by Turkish authorities upon their return to their home country on terrorism charges.

      They have been linked to the Gulen Movement, which Ankara blames for the failed 2016 coup, or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have been involved in an armed struggle with the Turkish state over independence.

      The European Commission has urged Greece to follow up on the allegations that Euronews has detailed in this article.

      ’Violently pushed back’

      “We are Turkish political asylum seekers,” began Ayse Erdogan in a video she sent to a family member.

      “We fled persecution in Turkey and crossed [at] Evros on May 4, at 5 am. We are hiding near Nea Vyssa [on the Greek-Turkey land border] in fear of a push back. We urge the United Nations and Greek authorities to protect us from being pushed back.”

      Ayse, who had crossed the border with friends Kamil and Talip, was picked up by Greek police and taken into custody at a police station in the village of Nea Cheimonio. Hours later, Ayse would be part of a group of migrants that were allegedly violently pushed back to Turkey by Greek police.

      Nea Cheimonio was the last place that Ayse’s family was able to pick up a location signal from her phone.

      The same day, accompanied by a lawyer, Ayse’s twin brother, Ihsan Erdogan, who is a registered asylum seeker in Greece, went to the police station in Nea Cheimonio, based on her last location information. He was told his sister and her friends had never been held there.

      On May 5, Ihsan received a phone call from a family member saying his sister had been imprisoned by a court in the northwestern province of Edirne, over the border in Turkey.

      The relative had spoken to Ayse, who said her Turkish group, along with a number of Syrians, had been handed over to a group of masked men soon after they left the police station in Nea Cheimonio. Greek police, she claimed, seized their belongings including her phone.

      Ihsan rues that his sister was seemingly sent back just before he arrived in Nea Cheimonio. “I urge Greek authorities not to send others like my sister back to prison,” he told Euronews.
      ’Masked men beat us with batons’

      Freshly-graduated as a mathematics teacher, Ayse had spent 28 months in prison over alleged affiliation with the Gulen Movement, an organisation Turkish authorities have outlawed.

      Hundreds of people were arrested in the aftermath of the failed putsch in 2016 and accused of links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

      Ayse was not the only political asylum seeker allegedly sent back to Turkey in what appears to be a violation of international asylum law.

      On April 26 this year, at Soufli, a border town near Evros River, a group of 11 people — including three children, a pregnant woman and another one that was disabled — was sent back by masked men after being beaten violently, according to a journalist in the group.

      “Masked men beat us with batons,” said Tugba Ozkan, who is 28 and pregnant. "We are in a very dire situation. We are afraid to be pushed back again. We need help.

      “I had forgotten about my pregnancy,” she added. “I tried to stop Greek police by moving ahead but they pushed me, too. It was unbelievable and unforgettable to see my husband beaten in front of my eyes.”
      No acknowledgement from Athens

      According to the account of the group, the police cooperated with a group of masked men who forced them to return to Turkey. The group managed to cross the border again the next day, only to be detained officially and come face-to-face with a police officer who had pushed them back at Soufli. They were released under the protection of a UNHCR officer on April 30.

      Greek NGOs published reports last year with testimonies from people from various nationalities who were allegedly sent back to Turkey via Evros after being beaten by masked men.

      The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe urged Greek authorities to investigate those reports.

      The claims of violent push back operations at Evros river, however, have never ended. None have been officially acknowledged by Athens.

      Greece police declined to comment after requests by Euronews regarding the latest push back allegations.

      A European Commission spokesman, speaking to Euronews, said that they were aware of the recent push back claims.

      “The Commission expects that the Greek authorities will follow up on the specific allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” he said.

      https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/11/masked-men-beat-us-with-batons-greece-accused-of-violent-asylum-seeker-pus

    • Migrants tortured by Greek police, illegally pushed back to Turkey

      Three migrants allegedly tortured by Greek security forces and illegally pushed back to neighboring Turkey were found by Turkish border units and are being provided medical treatment in northwestern Edirne province.

      Iraqi national Ibrahim Khidir (35) and Egyptian nationals Hassan Mahmoud (18) and Ahmed Samir (26) were found in a rural area, half-naked and exhausted with deep marks from plastic bullets and battering on their bodies. They were taken under protection by soldiers, who gave first aid to the migrants before handing them over to the provincial migration management directorate.

      The migrants told reporters that they crossed into Greece with a group of seven other illegal migrants after making arrangements with human smugglers in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district. They were held by the Greek police at the coach station in the border district of Didymoteicho while trying to travel to Thessaloniki. They were then taken to a local police station, where they spent two days along with 35 other illegal migrants and were denied any food.

      The migrants said they were divided into groups of 10 and boarded boats with two Greek police officers accompanying each and six officers watching guard. They were pushed back to Turkey through the Maritsa River (Meriç in Turkish, or Evros in Greek) forming the border with Greece.

      The violence that began at the police station, which included battering with truncheons, shooting with plastic bullets and electroshocks, continued at the riverside and on the boats.

      Khidir told reporters that Greek security forces captured him in Didymoteicho and tortured him with electroshocks, rear-handcuffing and plastic bullets fired at his body. His clothes and money were taken when he was detained.

      Turkish soldiers treated them very well and took care that they received treatment, according Khidir.

      Mahmoud and Samir also said that they were pushed back to Turkey after being stripped of their clothes and beaten up.

      Under international laws and conventions, Greece is obliged to register any illegal migrants entering its territory; yet, this is not the case for thousands of migrants were forcibly returned to Turkey especially since the beginning of refugee influx into Europe in 2015. Security sources say that accounts of migrants interviewed by Turkish migration authority staff and social workers show that they were subjected to torture, theft and other human rights abuses. Several migrants were also found frozen to death after being left in desolate areas.

      Similar incidents have also taken place on the Aegean, in which migrants and Turkish locals accused the Greek coast guard of deflating their boats or re-routing them back to Turkish territorial waters.

      Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal immigration through the dangerous Aegean Sea route from Turkey to Greece. Under the deal, Greece sends back migrants held in the Aegean islands they crossed to from nearby Turkish shores and in return, EU countries receive a number of Syrian migrants legally. The deal, reinforced with an escalated crackdown on human smugglers and more patrols in the Aegean, significantly decreased the number of illegal crossings.

      Bulgarian border authorities were also accused of abuses targeting migrants and pushing them back to Turkey in several incidents.

      However, some desperate migrants still take the route across the better-policed land border between Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, especially in winter months when a safe journey through the Aegean is nearly impossible aboard dinghies.

      https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2019/05/30/migrants-tortured-by-greek-police-illegally-pushed-back-to-turkey/amp
      #torture

    • Greece continues to push asylum seekers back to Turkey

      Greek border forces along the Evros River pushed 59 migrants back into Turkey on Friday morning, signaling the continuation of a policy that started before the arrival of the new government.

      The pushback was reported by Zübeyir Koçulu, an Athens-based Turkish journalist who tweeted, “It seems nothing has changed on the Evros regarding pushbacks following a recent government change in Greece.”

      A total of 59 asylum seekers, nine of them Turkish and the remainder Afghans, Syrians and Somalis, were illegally sent back to Turkey, according to Koçulu.

      “The Greek police collected the group soon after their arrival and held them in custody at the Tychero police station for four hours,” he said. “After seizing their phones, security officers pushed the 59 people through the river near Soufli by force, perpetrating violence, according to witnesses.”

      He further claimed that Turkish political asylum seekers in the group were detained by Turkish security forces soon after the pushback. Three children in the group were delivered to their relatives.

      The Evros River, which forms most of the land border between the two countries, was one of the main routes used by Turkish asylum seekers fleeing government persecution as well as migrants of other nationalities until a series of violent pushback operations a few months ago stopped the flow.

      “Ironically, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the new PM of Greece, fled with his parents into exile in Turkey when he was a year old in 1968 during the Greek junta,” Koçulu said. “He knows what it is to be a migrant from his own experience.”

      https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/07/21/greece-continues-to-push-asylum-seekers-back-to-turkey

  • On the edge of the EU, refugee flows flood the Evros River

    A clampdown on Europe’s eastern borders and the Aegean Sea has forced migrants to seek different — and more dangerous — routes to the continent. Hunters and fishermen find their bodies, reports Anthee Carassava.

    http://www.dw.com/en/on-the-edge-of-the-eu-refugee-flows-flood-the-evros-river/a-43068842?maca=en-Twitter-sharing
    #Evros #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #frontières #Pavlos_Pavlidis #mourir_aux_frontières #morts #décès

    • Si jamais, pour mémoire, j’avais écrit cet article en 2012, paru dans @lacite et repris par @visionscarto :
      Dans la région de l’Evros, un mur inutile sur la frontière greco-turque

      L’Europe se déchire sur la « crise des migrants », et la Hongrie vient d’annoncer la fermeture de la frontière et l’édification d’une clôture de barbelés de 4 mètres de haut sur les 175 kilomètres de tracé frontalier avec la Serbie. Mais que se passe-t-il vraiment le long des frontières européennes ? Voyage en plusieurs étapes avec Alberto Campi et Cristina Del Biaggio, qui arpentent ces marges depuis 2012.

      Aujourd’hui, le mur d’Evros, sur la frontière greco-turque. Considérée comme une passoire, les autorités grecques ont cherché à la « verrouiller » en construisant un « mur » sur un peu plus de 12 kilomètres, symbole du durcissement de la politique de surveillance et de restriction des flux migratoires vers l’Europe.


      https://visionscarto.net/evros-mur-inutile

    • Erdogan crackdown, Syria war seen fueling migrant flows to Greece

      Over the previous week, a record 1,500 migrants and asylum-seekers crossed the Evros River border, most of them Kurds from Syria and Iraq, as well as self-professed critics of the Erdogan regime. Most turn themselves into Greek authorities, waiting to be formally identified and transferred to reception centers.

      Greek officials are concerned that arrivals via Evros will rise as dry weather has resulted in lower water levels in the river.

      Another key factor, military and police sources have told Kathimerini, is that Turkish authorities appear less willing than before to stem inflows. They say that the ease with which traffickers and migrants are able to reach the Turkish side of the border – despite Erdogan’s decision to reinforce Turkey’s land border with thousands of pro-government military border guards – suggests that the authorities have either been ordered to turn a blind eye to widespread trespassing or are susceptible to bribes. Additionally, analysts say that the fact that the vast majority of migrants are Kurds from war-torn Afrin in Syria and from Iraq, whose presence in Turkey would be a headache for Erdogan, amplifies skepticism over the true motives of Turkish authorities.

      “The Turks are doing in Evros what we did in Idomeni in the beginning [of the crisis],” a source said in reference to the now-defunct border camp on Greece’s frontier with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “We simply facilitated the refugee flows so that they could move on to Europe through Skopje.”

      Meanwhile, sources say that the channels of communication between Greek and Turkish border guards, which in the past facilitated the arrest of migrants and smugglers before the attempted crossing, have been clogged amid deteriorating bilateral ties. The arrest of two Greek soldiers in early March after they accidentally crossed into Turkish territory has made Greek patrols more restrained in their operations.

      Greece plans to reinforce its border force with an additional 150 guards as of May 1.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/227933/article/ekathimerini/news/erdogan-crackdown-syria-war-seen-fueling-migrant-flows-to-greece

      Greece plans to reinforce its border force with an additional 150 guards as of May 1

      –-> #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Concern as rising numbers cross from Turkey to Greece via Evros

      Over a thousand people have crossed the Evros river, marking the land border between Turkey and Greece, since March this year. Last week over one hundred people arrived each day and 340 people arrived on Tuesday alone. This has led to concerns from authorities and NGOs that an emergency situation is unfolding.

      Many of the people crossing the border have ended up sleeping in the parks and squares of the city of Thessaloniki, waiting for a place in a camp. There are also reports of hundreds of people waiting outside police stations, to get arrested in order to gain temporary residence. The municipality has expressed concerns that the city may experience similar circumstance as the events of 2015, where thousands of people slept on the streets across Greece. Local and national migration authorities have scheduled a meeting for Saturday to discuss the situation. The Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas expressed his concerns about the increase of arrivals and announced his ministry has developed two plans to deal with the situation, which he will share privately with party leaders.

      Arrivals have also been increasing on the Aegean islands, with arrivals on Lesvos almost four times the amount of last year. Minister Vitsas said “I’m not scared about the islands because we know what we have to do. What is really worrisome is the huge increase through Evros.” A concern also raised by the Head of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in Greece, Ruben Cano: “This is not the route most people take to reach Greece – it’s a worrying development. The summer will see river levels drop which could also lead to a further rise in people braving the journey.”

      The situation for refugees in Greece has been increasingly tense after incidents on Sunday, where a group of asylum seekers who had been occupying the central square in Mytillene, Lesvos to protest reception conditions and long asylum processing times, were attacked by over a hundred far right extremists. The attackers threw projectiles, including bricks and flares. The Mayor of Lesvos, Spyros Galinos, wrote to Minister Vitsas and the Citizen’s Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, saying, “Lack of action and poor management has resulted in nearly 10,000 asylum seekers being trapped in miserable conditions around a town of 27,000 residents and has created intense fear in the local community; a community that has lost its sense of security and after last night’s events its cohesion too.”

      The state of affairs in Turkey following the failed coup-attempt of 2016, the humanitarian impact of the war in Syria and deteriorating diplomatic ties between Greece and Turkey are cited as reasons for the increase of crossings of mainly people of Kurdish descent from Syria and Iraq and Turkish nationals.


      https://www.ecre.org/concern-as-rising-numbers-cross-from-turkey-to-greece-via-evros

    • Grèce : de plus en plus de réfugiés arrivent par voie terrestre

      La situation devient « intenable » dans la région de l’Evros, au nord-est de la Grèce. Selon le HCR, 2900 personnes ont pénétré dans le pays en avril par la frontière terrestre, 1650 en mars. Les autorités grecques s’inquiètent de cette hausse d’autant que de nombreux camps ont été fermés dans le nord du pays et que les capacités d’accueil y sont restreintes.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/les-refugies-sont-de-plus-en-plus-nombreux-a-arriver-par-voie-ter

    • ’Grieken die migranten terugsturen is duistere, illegale praktijk’

      In de nacht, buiten het zicht, langs de afgelegen rivieroever van de Evros gebeurt het: migranten die voet op Griekse bodem hebben gezet, worden weer in een bootje geladen en teruggevaren naar Turkije. Pushbacks. De grensrivier tussen Turkije en Griekenland is het middelpunt van een goed georganiseerd, illegaal gesleep met migranten.

      https://nos.nl/artikel/2230095-grieken-die-migranten-terugsturen-is-duistere-illegale-praktijk.html
      #refoulement #push-back

    • Le HCR demande à la Grèce d’améliorer la situation à Evros

      Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, demande au gouvernement grec d’améliorer de toute urgence les conditions de vie et les capacités d’accueil des réfugiés dans la région d’Evros, à la suite d’une récente augmentation des arrivées via la frontière terrestre avec la Turquie. Des centaines de personnes sont actuellement maintenues dans des centres de détention de la police.

      Environ 2 900 personnes sont arrivées à Evros ce mois-ci, principalement des familles syriennes ou iraquiennes. Cela représente près de la moitié des arrivées enregistrées pour l’ensemble de l’année 2017. Selon les données recueillies par le HCR, les arrivées par voie terrestre ont dépassé le nombre d’arrivées par la mer au mois d’avril. Au moins huit personnes sont mortes depuis le début de l’année en tentant de traverser le fleuve Evros.

      Cette augmentation des nouvelles arrivées met à rude épreuve l’unique centre d’accueil et d’identification d’Evros, situé à Fylakio. Ce centre a dépassé sa capacité maximale d’accueil de 240 personnes, dont 120 enfants non accompagnés ou séparés de leur famille.

      Etant donné que le centre d’accueil et d’identification est submergé et qu’il peine à procéder à l’enregistrement et à l’identification des réfugiés, à fournir des services d’ordre médicaux, psychosociaux ou d’interprétation, les autorités ont placé des personnes, dont de nombreux enfants, dans des centres de détention de la police éparpillés dans la région et inadaptés à la situation, dans l’attente que des places se libèrent.

      Certaines personnes sont maintenues depuis plus de trois mois dans des centres de détention de la police. Les conditions de vie y sont désastreuses et les services y sont limités au strict minimum. Lors d’une visite sur place, les équipes du HCR ont découvert des familles qui dormaient à même le sol dans les couloirs à côté des cellules. Dans un autre établissement, on comptait à peine un médecin et quatre infirmières pour plus de 500 personnes. Parmi les centaines de personnes maintenues dans ces conditions, on dénombre des femmes enceintes, de très jeunes enfants et des personnes qui ont besoin de soins médicaux ou d’une aide psycho-sociale.

      Nous nous réjouissons de la décision qui a permis de libérer plus de 2 500 personnes détenues par les autorités mais nous sommes préoccupés par les conditions dans lesquelles ces libérations ont été réalisées, à savoir sans vérifier la vulnérabilité des personnes concernées et sans leur fournir suffisamment d’informations au sujet de l’asile ou de leurs autres options. Leur situation doit être examinée de toute urgence afin de leur permettre l’accès à des soins et aux procédures d’asile.

      Nous saluons les efforts menés par la police et par le centre d’accueil et d’identification de Fylakio en vue de relever les défis auxquels ils sont confrontés mais, face à des ressources de plus en plus limitées, la situation est devenue intenable.

      Le HCR suggère plusieurs mesures :

      Accroître d’urgence la capacité d’accueil du centre de réception et d’identification, en y augmentant le nombre de places disponibles et en y améliorant les conditions de vie et les services ;
      Identifier des lieux de transit ouverts, vers lesquels pourront être dirigées les personnes qui arrivent d’Evros et où l’enregistrement et l’identification pourront être réalisés ;
      Mettre en place des équipes mobiles d’enregistrement et d’identification ;
      Transférer immédiatement les familles en détention vers des abris sûrs et les guider vers les services dont elles ont besoin ;
      Améliorer les conditions de vie dans les centres de la police, y compris pour des périodes de courte durée, en y assurant l’accès à des espaces communs et à des services élémentaires, notamment et en priorité des soins de santé ;
      Augmenter les capacités d’enregistrement des autorités grecques compétentes afin de garantir l’accès aux procédures d’asile et l’enregistrement des demandes en temps opportun ;
      Transférer rapidement les enfants non accompagnés vers des lieux sûrs et procéder rapidement à une évaluation de leur situation et des liens familiaux.

      Le HCR continue de fournir son appui en matière de protection au centre d’accueil et d’identification de Fylakio, et reste en contact étroit et régulier avec le gouvernement grec afin de faire face à cette situation exceptionnelle. Le HCR continuera d’aider les autorités grecques en fournissant un soutien technique et matériel, notamment des couvertures, des vêtements, des articles d’hygiène, des lampes à énergie solaire et d’autres articles non alimentaires.


      http://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2018/4/5ae734a4a/hcr-demande-grece-dameliorer-situation-evros.html

    • La rivière Evros, point de passage des clandestins entre la Turquie à la Grèce

      Les migrants multiplient les tentatives pour passer le fleuve qui marque la frontière, en dépit de la pression exercée par les polices turque et grecque.

      Rivière tumultueuse qui marque la frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce, à 75 kilomètres de la ville d’Edirne, en Thrace orientale, l’Evros est l’une des portes d’entrée des migrants en Europe. Si les candidats au départ prennent moins souvent les bateaux pour rejoindre l’Union européenne via les îles grecques, ils optent toujours pour la traversée de la rivière Evros, réputée – à tort, car il existe des cas de noyades – moins dangereuse que celle de la mer Egée.

      Ces passages de migrants redoublent après la décrue printanière du fleuve, comme en témoignent les sacs plastique, les vêtements abandonnés et les canots pneumatiques dégonflés qui jonchent ses berges. Ces tout derniers mois, le rythme s’est encore accéléré. Les autorités grecques faisaient état d’une moyenne de 44 arrivées par jour dans la zone en 2017. Elles sont passées à 62 en janvier et février 2018, puis à 200 les mois suivants. « En avril, nous avons enregistré 2 700 arrivées pour la région d’Evros », a déploré Dimitris Vitsas, le ministre de la politique migratoire, lors d’un débat parlementaire sur les réfugiés, mardi 24 avril.

      « Chaque jour, je vois des réfugiés. Je les croise quotidiennement dans mes champs ou le long des sentiers qui mènent au village », confirme Erdogan Adali, le chef de l’administration du village d’#Akcadam, situé à 3 kilomètres du fleuve. « Ça me fend le cœur. Ils sont dans un état pitoyable, hagards, pieds nus, affamés. Je leur donnerais volontiers le gîte et le couvert, mais c’est un délit, je ne peux pas. Dès que je les vois, je suis obligé d’alerter les gendarmes qui viennent les chercher pour les ramener au centre de rétention d’Edirne », raconte l’agriculteur au visage buriné, dont les rizières et les champs de blé jouxtent le village.

      Le reste... #paywall
      https://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/06/05/la-riviere-evros-point-de-passage-des-clandestins-entre-la-turquie-a-la-grec

    • Greece: Asylum-Seeking Women Detained with Men. Urgently End Dangerous Detention Conditions

      Greek authorities are routinely confining asylum-seeking women with unrelated men in the northern Evros region, at the land-border with Turkey, putting them at grave risk of sexual violence and harassment. Authorities should immediately stop holding asylum-seeking women and girls in closed facilities with unrelated men.

      Human Rights Watch research in Northern Greece in late May 2018 found women and girls housed with unrelated men in sites for reception and/or detention of asylum seekers. Twelve women and two girls interviewed said they had been locked in cells or enclosures for weeks, and in one case for nearly five months, with men and boys they did not know. Four said they were the sole females confined with dozens of men, in some cases with at least one male partner or relative.

      “Women and girls should not be confined with men who are complete strangers, even for a day,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “These women and girls came to Greece seeking security and protection, and instead they are living in fear.”

      Five women said they had severe psychological distress as a result, including two who had suicidal thoughts. Other women and girls said they experienced sleeplessness, anxiety, and other emotional and psychological distress, in part due to fear of confinement with unrelated men.

      The Greek government has not provided authorities in northern Greece with sufficient resources to respond to a surge in arrivals over the land border with Turkey in April. Officials who met with Human Rights Watch acknowledged that the increase led to a slowdown in reception and identification procedures, including registration of asylum claims, as well as overcrowding of and lengthier stays in reception and immigration detention facilities.

      Pending completion of reception and identification procedures, newly-arrived irregular migrants and those seeking international protection are held in border police stations in the Evros region, in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center, run by the Hellenic Police, and/or in the Fylakio reception and identification center (RIC), run by the Ministry for Migration Policy. The Ministry and the Hellenic police granted Human Rights Watch access to these sites, and authorities at the pre-removal detention center and RIC helped identify female migrants in the facilities so that Human Rights Watch could approach them for interviews.

      Eight women and one of the girls said they had been held in cells with unrelated men in Fylakio pre-removal detention center, including six women who were held with unrelated men at the time of the interviews. Five women and the two girls were housed with unrelated men in pre-fabricated containers and locked, fenced-off “sections” in the Fylakio RIC at the time of the interviews. Some said they were held with unrelated men in multiple facilities.

      Two of the women said they had been at the pre-removal center in cells with their male partners and many unknown men for at least two weeks. “Maha,” a 38-year-old woman from Iraq, was visibly shaking as she described being the sole woman in a cell with about 60 men for over two weeks. Maha said she avoided drinking water due to fear of using the shared toilet inside the cell. She said that she was living almost exclusively inside an enclosure she and her partner created by hanging blankets around their bunkbed.

      “I haven’t moved my legs for 23 days,” she said in tears, demonstrating how she cowered with her knees hugged to her chest all day. “If I had a way to kill myself, I would have.”

      According to a police registry given to Human Rights Watch researchers, at the time of the interview she and her partner were held in a cell with 32 unrelated men. Maha was released days after her interview, but her partner remained in detention.

      Some women and girls said they were housed with unrelated men at the RIC for weeks or months. “Suraya,” a woman in her twenties (nationality withheld) in the RIC with her four-year-old nephew while awaiting confirmation of their family links, spent nearly five months in a section she said housed only men and unaccompanied boys. She said a fellow asylum seeker sexually assaulted her. “He started touching me while I was sleeping,” Suraya said, adding that he left when she screamed, and she reported it to authorities. “I have asked [them] to take me to a safer place here, or to another camp, but nothing has happened,” she said.

      Authorities at the pre-removal detention center said there is a separate designated cell for women traveling alone, but they also put families in that cell “if necessary,” such as during periods of overcrowding. The facility was under capacity when Human Rights Watch visited, but two single women said they were in a cell with unrelated families. Authorities in both the pre-removal detention center and the RIC acknowledged gaps in response at the facilities, which they attribute largely to a dearth of resources.

      National and European law as well as international standards require that men and women be held separately in detention, including reception and immigration detention facilities, unless they are members of the same family and consent to being held together. They also call for separating unaccompanied children from adults, and separate accommodation for families. A 2016 order issued by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police instructs police to separate women and children from unrelated men in closed facilities.

      Greek authorities should ensure the safety and security of all asylum seekers, including by providing single women, single men, families, and unaccompanied children with separate accommodation, toilets and bathing facilities in all immigration detention sites and other closed facilities. Authorities should urgently fit all rooms, bathrooms, and containers in RICs with locking doors to facilitate security and privacy.

      When necessary, authorities should urgently transfer single women, unaccompanied and separated children, and families including couples in immigration detention to accommodation or facilities that meet these standards. Authorities should also ensure that asylum seekers have a safe and confidential means to report sexual harassment or assault, and that such reports are promptly investigated, those responsible are appropriately punished, and immediate measures are taken to ensure victims’ safety and well-being.

      “Women and girls in these sites are overcome by fear from being locked up with men who are complete strangers,” Margolis said. “Greek authorities need to put an urgent stop to this, and grant them the security, privacy and dignity they deserve.”

      Accounts from asylum seekers in Fylakio pre-removal detention center and the reception and identification center (RIC) in Fylakio, Greece:

      Fatima (all names have been changed), 24, from Algeria, who had been at the pre-removal center with her husband for 20 days: “For 20 days I have been the only woman [in our cell]. The others are all single men. I had difficulty at the beginning. I sleep at night covered in a blanket. One night a man [in the cell] came and lifted the blanket and was looking at me. When I go to take a bath, the men come and try to look over the wall…. I am very stressed…. I feel like I have reached the bottom. I feel like I am broken.”

      Suha, 20, from Morocco, who had been in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center with her husband for two weeks. At the time of the interview, they were in a cell alone, but they had previously been in the same center for two weeks in a cell with mostly men: “There were two other girls and 60 to 70 men [in the cell] … I was fighting for myself every day … The worst time was when I would go to the toilet. All of them would follow me with their eyes, say things. Some men, when they see a woman they act like animals. They would call out to me, ‘Stand up, stop here, let us look at you, you’re beautiful.’ The toilets are mixed [for men and women.] The bath is the same. There is no lock on the door. If you sit, they can’t see you [over the wall]. But if you stand they can see you from the chest up. Imagine being a woman in those conditions.”

      Samira, 18, from Syria, who had been in the RIC with her 15-year-old sister for three weeks: “Since I’ve been here I’m unable to eat. I’m very stressed. I can’t leave my sister, I have to take care of her…. I’m constantly afraid that someone will enter our container. I don’t sleep at night – I stay awake during the day and sleep in the morning… I only shower once every two weeks because I feel like people are watching me [in the bathroom] … I wake up every morning at 3 a.m. feeling scared and nervous.”

      Nada, 16, from Syria, who had been in the RIC with her older brother and sister for nearly two months: “We’re the only family in our section, it’s all single men. The only women are me and my sister. Everyone is afraid here. There are more than 20 men [or unaccompanied boys] living in our section…. At first, we were 20 people in the [same] container, but they have all left. It was mixed men and women. We didn’t feel safe and couldn’t sleep. We stayed up all night…. We shared the toilet with strangers. I used to take my sister with me and ask her to wait at the door.”

      Nadir, 21, from Syria, who had been in the RIC for 20 days with his 6-year-old niece, Abra, whose mother became separated from them during the crossing from Turkey to Greece: “We are in the same container with two families…. The doors don’t lock…. The families staying with us are Iraqi Kurds. We can’t communicate with them – how can we feel safe? It is not a question of nationality, it is just that they are strangers. I can’t leave [Abra] alone. If she wants to go outside, I go outside; if she wants to go to the toilet, I go with her. There are single men [or unaccompanied boys]. If you come at night around 10 p.m. you will hear the noises they make [yelling] and understand why we don’t feel safe.”

      Abbas, 35, from Iran, who had arrived at the Fylakio pre-removal detention center with his wife, 36 the previous day: “When we reached here, [the police] said, ‘You have to be separated [from your wife].’ I said, ‘No, we can’t be separated, we are a couple.’ Then the police said, ‘If you don’t separate, you’ll both have to go to the room with all the men.’ My wife was shocked and started crying. She was really scared. I said, ‘Okay, let’s separate.’ I kissed her, said goodbye, and they put her in another room and me in the room with all the men.” Eventually, he said, the police brought his wife to a cell opposite his and then put them together in that cell, along with unrelated families.

      Additional Information on Combined Detention of Women and Men

      In interviews with twelve women and two girls from May 19 to 24, eight women and one girl said they had been held in cells with unrelated men in Fylakio pre-removal detention center, including six women who were held with unrelated men at the time of the interviews.

      Women at the pre-removal center said that combined toilet and bathing stalls in cells they shared with men did not have floor-to-ceiling walls, and they were harassed by male cellmates while using them. One 24-year-old woman, in a cell with her husband and 20 single men, said men attempted to watch her over the wall while she used the toilet.

      Six women and two girls told Human Rights Watch they were also housed with unrelated men at the RIC, sometimes for weeks or months, in pre-fabricated containers and “sections,” which are fenced-in, locked enclosures containing a courtyard and multiple containers housing migrants and asylum seekers. Five women and two girls were being held with unrelated men and/or boys at the time of their interviews at the Fylakio RIC.

      Assignment to sections is based primarily on nationality. Awaiting confirmation of age, placement in designated accommodation, or establishment of family links to other asylum seekers can result in lengthy stays for unaccompanied or separated children and their non-immediate family members.

      Two unrelated girls, ages 15 and 16, each said they had been in these sections in the RIC with unrelated adult men and/or boys for over three weeks; one said she and her 30-year-old sister had been the only females in a section with 20 men and/or boys for about 45 days. One 19-year-old pregnant woman who was there with her husband and in-laws said her container housed multiple unrelated families in one shared room.

      Some women and girls, as well as a man with his 6-year-old niece, said they and their family members live in rooms inside containers shared with unrelated families including men or boys. In all cases, they said they share toilets and bathing facilities with men and/or boys, and that no containers or bedrooms have locking doors.

      Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Greece

      Under Greek law, authorities may restrict the movement of new arrivals for up to 25 days at a reception and identification center (RIC) and up to a total of six months in immigration detention, including at pre-removal centers. Unaccompanied and separated children may be held longer pending resolution of their cases and reunification with family members, particularly when age or family links are in question, or pending available space in designated sites with protected areas or shelters.

      Upon arrival in the Evros region in northern Greece, where the land-border with Turkey is located, irregular migrants and those seeking international protection are held in border police stations, a pre-removal detention center, and/or a RIC, pending completion of reception and identification procedures. Following these procedures, new arrivals may be detained for processing or assessment of their asylum claim, or for deportation.

      While the increase in arrivals in April temporarily strained asylum identification, registration, and accommodation services in Northern Greece and the Evros region, authorities are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of asylum seekers throughout registration and identification processes. Increased arrivals do not justify the Greek government’s failure to protect women and girls, or to allow dangerous conditions to persist even after arrivals have decreased.

      During Human Rights Watch visits to sites in the Thessaloniki area and in Evros, authorities said that arrivals had returned to a normal range over the previous two weeks. On May 19, authorities at Fylakio pre-removal detention center said the site has a capacity of 374 and was housing only 172 people. On May 21, authorities at the RIC, which has a capacity of 240, said it was housing 196. Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch found women and girls being held with unrelated men and boys.

      On June 1, following an April ad hoc visit to Greece, the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment reported the detention of men, women, and children together in a single cell at the Fylakio pre-removal center, consistent with the Human Rights Watch findings in May.

      Authorities said they give priority to members of “vulnerable” groups for registration, processing, and transfer to appropriate accommodation. Under Greek law this includes unaccompanied or separated children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and new mothers, single parents with minor children, and victims of sexual violence, torture or other severe psychological or physical trauma. The authorities acknowledged that unaccompanied or separated children – and sometimes their family members – may be accommodated for lengthy periods in the RIC due to limited spaces in designated “safe” facilities and lengthy processes for verifying family links.

      The Greek government’s failure to accommodate men, women, and children separately in immigration detention is a longstanding problem, including in Evros. The European Court of Human Rights and multiple other international human rights bodies have criticized inhumane and degrading conditions in Greek immigration detention facilities, including failure to separate women and children from unrelated men. Human Rights Watch has previously documented violence, insecurity, sexual harassment, and unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in facilities for registration, identification, and processing of asylum seekers on the Greek islands, or “hotspots.” Human Rights Watch has also found women traveling alone housed with unrelated men in island hotspots.


      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/07/greece-asylum-seeking-women-detained-men

      #Fylakio #femmes #violences_sexuelles #harcèlement_sexuel

    • Greek Authorities’ Struggle to Identify Dead Evros Migrants

      The worsening humanitarian situation on Greece’s land border with Turkey, is drawing international media attention.

      As the local authorities also face the challenge of identifying the bodies they recover from the frontier river, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has already called on the Greek government to urgently improve conditions and expand reception capacity in the north east.

      This follows a recent rise in arrivals in the Evros area across the land border with Turkey.

      In one report, Britain’s BBC investigates how people fleeing from Iraq and Syria as well as other countries like Iran and Afghanistan, put themselves at risk while trying to cross the dangerous waters of the Evros.

      The BBC dispatch covers the work of local people like Professor Pavlos Pavlidis of the Alexandroupoli State Hospital. A forensic surgeon, he has built up a huge database of photos, personal items and DNA samples taken from unidentified people who have perished while crossing into Greece.

      Sometimes, his work allows for a victim to be identified: “It gives an answer, even if it is a sad answer,” he says.

      http://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/05/01/greek-authorities-struggle-to-identify-dead-evros-migrants
      #cadavres #morts #identification #corps #décès #mourir_aux_frontières

    • Unprepared and overwhelmed: Greece’s resurgent river border with Turkey. When an old migration route became new again, the Evros region was caught on the back foot.

      Locals in Evros are used to new faces. People have been quietly slipping across the river that forms a natural barrier for all but 12 kilometres of the tense, militarised border between Greece and Turkey since Greece joined the European Union in 1981.

      But everyone on the Evros River was puzzled when a crush of hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers began crossing their sleepy riverine border every day in March. Six months later, arrivals have slowed but worries persist that the region is still poorly prepared for any new influx.

      At the rush’s height in April, more than 3,600 crossed the river in one month, surpassing the total number of people arriving in Greece by sea for the first time since 2012. They came across the Evros on plastic dinghies, and once on Greek soil they were picked up by smugglers in cars or continued the journey by foot. The banks of the river were littered with discarded clothes, water bottles, food and medicine packages, and flotation devices, which remain there today.

      Despite its history of migration, Evros, one of Greece’s poorest regions, was caught off guard. Hundreds of new arrivals were crammed into police stations, waiting for months to lodge their asylum claims. There were no NGOs to help out. Conditions were dismal, and services limited.

      “We are all surprised with the rise in arrivals in Evros, and the lack of Greek preparation,” said Georgia Spyropoulou, an advocacy officer with the Hellenic League for Human Rights, from her office in Athens.

      Greek officials say they were caught unawares too, with a local police commissioner telling the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, in June that “it is necessary to be prepared in case there is an increase in arrivals again.” Still, local police insisted they were doing the best they could with the resources available to them.

      No one is quite sure what prompted the flood of people in the first place. And plenty of of people are still making their way to Evros – 9,480 by the end of July, taking a gamble on a border that looks safe but can be deadly – 29 people have died this year during the crossing or shortly after.
      Border police and barn doors

      Before 2012, and before millions of people began landing on Europe’s beaches and drowning in the Mediterranean, Evros (known as the Meriç River in Turkish) was the main crossing point for those hoping to make it into Europe through Greece.

      Amidst mounting pressure from other EU countries to further seal its borders (Austria’s interior minister famously said Greece was “open like a barn door”), Athens launched Operation Aspida (“Shield”) in 2012, deploying 1,800 more police officers and erecting a fence on the land portion of the border, adding to a 175-strong rapid border intervention team known as RABIT – set up in 2010 with the help of Frontex, the EU border agency.

      Those who made it alive to the Greek banks of the Evros this year found a system wholly unprepared for their arrival.

      The new measures worked, and by November 2012 migrant arrivals had dwindled to none – a remarkable decrease from 6,500 in August that year.

      Athens denies reports of pushbacks of asylum seekers, but human rights watchdogs have documented collective expulsions in which people are forced back into Turkey after already crossing the river, and the UN has also raised concerns.

      Despite the crackdown, the numbers began to creep up again slowly this March. And then the spring rush came.
      Understaffed and unprepared

      Those who made it alive to the Greek banks of the Evros this year found a system wholly unprepared for their arrival.

      The procedure is supposed to be simple: new arrivals are brought to “pre-removal detention centres” run by the Hellenic police, where they wait for no more than seven days to be fingerprinted and have their asylum claims registered at the region’s one official Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in the small village of Fylakio.

      But it proved to be anything but.

      The RIC was understaffed and overwhelmed by the numbers, causing the sorts of major delays in processing that have plagued the reception system on the Greek islands.

      In a scathing review of Evros in the springtime, UNHCR criticised the detention of new arrivals in sub-standard police facilities. Human Rights Watch also found troubling conditions in May: women and girls were being held with unrelated men. One woman told the watchdog she was sexually assaulted by a fellow asylum seeker; her requests to be transferred to another location were ignored.

      After asylum seekers’ claims are processed, they are moved to the RIC itself, which has a 240-person capacity.

      Unlike on the Greek islands and its controversial policy of containment, people in Evros are allowed to move about the country. After applying for asylum, most head to other government- or UN-run camps elsewhere in the country. Still, even the RIC facility quickly became overrun as unaccompanied minors and those likely to have their asylum claims rejected had to stay on.
      Improvements

      When IRIN visited Fylakio in July, it found the RIC camp no longer overcrowded, and newly arrived asylum seekers expressed relief at being out of the pre-removal detention centre. “That was a very bad place,” one Turkish arrival said, declining to elaborate.

      IRIN was not granted access to the nearby pre-removal detention centre. But despite Greek police releasing many migrants from police detention, a HRW report from July said conditions in Fylakio remained “inhumane”, describing “dark, dank cells, with overpowering odours in the corridors”, a lack of toilets and locked doors, and insufficient healthcare.

      There have been some improvements for those out of their first detention, and NGOs have arrived to help: ARISIS, a Greek non-governmental organisation that provides social support for minors, had recently set up a makeshift office, and Médecins Sans Frontières has now established a permanent outpost in Fylakio.

      But one RIC employee said they remain understaffed. “We have the experience and motivation to manage the situation,” but not the manpower, the employee said, asking to remain anonymous because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

      Staff work in two shifts. When IRIN visited, the centre’s director was on sick leave, and there were still no doctors on staff, and only three nurses.

      In one crowded container at the RIC centre, an Iraqi family was living alongside the body of a dog that had died the previous week – its body still hadn’t been removed, and the stench lingered. The mother was concerned for the health of her infant, who was in hospital. Because members of the family, including the mother, are minors, they are currently stuck in limbo, waiting at the RIC.

      Communication remains a constant issue. There are no official, permanent translators and the overwhelming majority of the centre’s staff only speaks English or Greek.

      “There are asylum seekers who are interpreting for other asylum seekers… [which is] completely inappropriate,” Eva Cosse, Western Europe researcher for HRW, told IRIN.
      What’s next?

      Months after the springtime surge at Evros, there is still confusion about what caused it – and if there’s any way to predict if the same thing might happen again. Everyone, it seems, has a theory.

      “The waves of migration increase in populations when there are serious issues in the country of origin,” Nikolaos Menexidis, the barrel-chested police major general of Western Thrace, told IRIN from his headquarters in the town of Kommini. “When Turkey created the latest issues in Afrin, we saw a rise in numbers.”

      It’s true that following Turkey’s assault on the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin – militias supported by Ankara took control in March – the majority of those recorded crossing in the spring were Syrian Kurds and Iraqis.

      But that doesn’t explain the drop in other nationalities who have long used the river crossing, like asylum seekers from Pakistan, countered Dimitros Koros, a lawyer with the Greek Council of Refugees.

      Some people may be driven by politics – Turks who had fled and made it to the RIC in Fylakio said they had been wrongly accused of terrorist activity at home or suspected of ties to the Gulen movement, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for the 2016 attempted coup in his country. Others may have just heard there was a chance to make it to Europe at the river.

      Whatever the reason for the surge, migrants and asylum seekers people will likely continue to take their chances on the way to Greece. And Koros, the lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees, worries that new arrivals will continue to struggle, as they move away from the squalid conditions at the border itself and into a wider region unequipped to help.

      “Evros is not just the border,” he said. “Evros is here in Thessaloniki. They are here, homeless, without any provision of service.”

      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/09/27/unprepared-and-overwhelmed-greece-s-resurgent-river-border-turkey

    • An open secret: Refugee pushbacks across the Turkey-Greece border

      On an eastern frontier of the European Union, people are whisked back to Turkey before they can claim asylum in Greece.

      Linda, a 19-year-old Syrian and registered refugee, had just crossed from Turkey into Greece at the Evros River when men carrying guns appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. She wasn’t sure if they were police officers or soldiers, but they emerged from behind trees and wore dark uniforms that helped them blend into the night.

      It was mid-May, and several hours earlier Linda had boarded a mini-bus in Istanbul with around 35 other people, including children and a pregnant woman, eager to enter European Union territory. The trip had been organised by smugglers, and the passengers ended up in a remote area close to the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne. At around three in the morning they boarded small boats that ferried them across the river.

      Linda’s plan was to get into Greece, then make her way to Denmark, where her fiancé lives. Her crossing was part of a sharp uptick in traffic into the EU via the Evros (known as the Meriç in Turkish) this spring; 3,600 people are known to have crossed in April alone, compared to just over 1,000 in all of 2013.

      But she didn’t make it more than a few steps into EU territory before she was stopped.

      The men demanded that everyone in the group hand over their mobile phones. “Then they beat the men who were with us, put us in a boat, and sent us back to the Turkish side of the border,” Linda recalled when she spoke to IRIN recently in Istanbul.

      Pushbacks like the one Linda experienced have been going on for years, documented by both human rights watchdogs and the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. They are also illegal under European and international law.

      “The right to claim and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right," Leo Dobbs, a UNHCR spokesman in Greece, told IRIN. Pushbacks at the Evros border, he added, are a “serious issue.”

      According to a report released by the Greek Council for Refugees in February, before the spring rush, pushbacks have increased to the point of being “systematic” as the number of people crossing the Evros has grown slowly in the past two years.

      The Evros River border between Turkey and Greece is one of the easternmost frontiers of the European Union. Until a fence went up on all but 12 kilometres of the Evros in 2012, it was the easiest and safest path for asylum seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere to reach Europe, and nearly 55,000 people crossed the border irregularly in 2011.

      A controversial 2016 EU-Turkey deal that paved the way for asylum seekers to be returned from the Greek Islands to Turkey (which it deems safe under the terms of that agreement), does not apply to the Evros border. Instead, there is a separate, largely ineffective bilateral readmission agreement dating from 2002 that was suspended earlier this year.

      Even under the terms of that agreement, pushbacks like the one Linda experienced violate European and international laws on refugee protection, which require states to allow asylum seekers to file for protection and prohibit sending them back to countries where they may face danger. While countries are allowed to protect their borders, they cannot legally return people who have already crossed without first evaluating their claims.

      Pushbacks may be illegal, but they are an open secret. “It’s something that everybody knows,” said Dimitris Koros, a lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees. Now, when an asylum seeker enters Greece from the land border, “the first thing you encounter is the possibility of being pushed back,” he added.

      The Greek Ministry for Migration Policy did not respond to IRIN’s requests for comment, but the Greek government has repeatedly denied it is engaged in systematic pushbacks.

      Human rights organisations say they have raised the issue of responsibility with the Greek government multiple times without receiving a response. “It’s a difficult thing… to say that the government instructs or gives orders to the policemen to do it,” Konstantinos Tsitselikis, a human rights law professor and former director of the Hellenic League for Human Rights said, “but they have the knowledge and they tolerate it at least.”

      It’s unclear just how many people have been pushed back or who is responsible, because the area around the border is a closed military zone and there aren’t many NGOs working in the region.

      Meanwhile on the Turkish side of the river, security forces regularly apprehend people attempting to cross and transfer them to government-run detention centres. But amidst a pervasive atmosphere of fear and silence, the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants after they are pushed back and detained largely remains a mystery.
      A longstanding practice

      According to Tsitselikis, pushbacks have been happening for decades.

      “I used to do my military service in 1996-97 in the Evros border area,” he told IRIN. “Even then the Greek authorities were doing pushbacks every day.”

      Although the border is technically a military zone, these days border police patrol the frontier as well as personnel from the EU border control agency, Frontex.

      People who have been pushed back, including Linda, describe being met by security forces wearing different types of uniforms, but it’s tough to assign responsibility.

      “Since it takes place outside of the public eye, we don’t really understand who is responsible,” Koros, from the Greek Council for Refugees, said.

      When asked about the practice by IRIN, Nikolaos Menexidis, police major general of Western Thrace, the Greek region that borders Turkey, said Hellenic police always follow the proper procedures when dealing with migrants.

      Menexidis said his forces have been working with Turkish police for the past six years on what he calls “technical issues.” They primarily exchange information on stopping smugglers on both sides of the border, he said.

      After pushback

      Linda’s ordeal did not end when she was pushed back into Turkey. The smugglers who brought her group to the border were gone and so was the bus. Without phones to call for help, the group was stuck. After waiting several hours, they tried to cross again.

      This time they made it further, walking for five or six hours in Greek territory before they were stopped, taken to a detention centre, and placed in a room with people from many different countries.

      After being held for several more hours, they were driven back to the border, the men were beaten again, and they were all forced back to the Turkish side of the river. By that point, the group was exhausted and thirsty. “For two days we didn’t drink water. When we saw the river we drank from it,” Linda said. “There were people who got sick because the water was dirty.”

      A group of Turkish soldiers found them in the woods and brought them food, water, and milk for the children and pointed them in the direction of Edirne, where they arranged for taxis to bring them back to Istanbul.

      In a way, Linda was lucky. Last December, the Greek Council for Refugees documented the case of a Pakistani man who died of hypothermia after being forcibly returned to Turkey. He had fallen into the cold water on the way back.

      While the Evros is no more than a few metres wide, its current is deceptively strong and, according to records in Greece, at least 29 people this year have died while trying to cross the water or shortly after.

      Some who are forced back to Turkey face serious punishment. Since a failed military coup in 2016, the Turkish government has jailed tens of thousands of opponents, leading to an increase in the number of Turks fleeing to Greece to seek asylum – nearly 2,000 in 2017 compared to just 180 the year before. The Hellenic League for Human Rights has documented two cases of Turks being pushed back from Greece at the Evros and later being imprisoned in Turkey, including journalist Murat Çapan, who is now serving a 22.5 year sentence for “participating in a terrorist organization and attempting to overthrow the constitution”.

      Despite documentation, human rights advocates say they have struggled to bring attention to the issue of pushbacks, as EU and international policymakers focus on stemming Mediterranean crossings. There is little appetite in Europe at the moment for monitoring or changing policies that are keeping asylum seekers and migrants from entering the EU.

      “Both the European Union and the Greek government... prefer not to open this discussion, especially in this political environment,” Tsitselikis said, referring to the rise of right-wing, anti-migration politics in Europe that is shaking the foundations of the EU.
      Fear and silence

      In early June, about a 10-minute drive from Edirne, hundreds of people in the parking lot of what the Turkish government calls a “migrant removal centre” huddled under tin pavilions that offered shade from the afternoon sun. This is where those caught on the Turkish side of the river are brought.

      IRIN visited three times over the course of a week to try to gain access, but never received a response to our requests.

      The centre is surrounded by a low wall topped with a chain-link fence and spools of razor wire. Each time IRIN visited, there were hundreds of people – mostly men, but also women and small children – in the parking lot and white vans passed in and out of the metal gate depositing more people. Two large charter buses idled in the parking lot with their doors open, seemingly waiting for people to board.

      In close to a week spent at the border, there was no concrete evidence of what was happening inside the centre. There were hints and rumours, but no one wanted to speak on record – including Turkish organisations that work with asylum seekers – because of the sensitivity of the issue.

      It is simply not clear how long people are kept in the centre, or what happens to them when they are removed. The Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management responded to IRIN’s requests for comment with links to online statistics and Turkish law on removals.

      Several Syrian and Afghan asylum seekers that IRIN spoke to shared stories of being held in such centres for a period of time before being released inside Turkey and permitted to stay. Most of the people IRIN spoke to reported good treatment while inside.

      But in 2015 and 2016, Amnesty International documented cases of Syrians detained while trying to migrate to Europe and being deported to Syria, according to Anna Shea, an Amnesty researcher working on refugee and migrant rights.

      Amnesty has also recently documented a case of a Syrian asylum seeker stopped in Edirne being deported to Idlib, the rebel-held province in northwestern Syria where a ceasefire is so far holding off a government offensive but humanitarians warn conditions are still dire. It is unclear if the case is part of a larger trend.

      In recent months, Turkey has deported large numbers of Afghans and Syrians, stopped after crossing Turkey’s southern and eastern borders, back to their respective countries.

      But it is difficult to know if this practice has been extended to people who have tried to travel to Greece, given that the organisations working on migrant and refugee rights were unwilling to speak on the record, and the government declined to comment on the issue or allow access to detained migrants.

      “The total stonewalling and lack of information and complete lack of transparency is cause for concern in and of itself,” said Shea, the Amnesty researcher. “I mean, what do they have to hide?”

      Hidden practice

      At a small village outside of Edirne, a man herding goats pointed to places where people crossed the nearby river, but there was no sign of anyone during the day. Crossings happened only at night, he said. And the Turkish army prohibited people from approaching the river after 7 pm.

      The road leading from the village followed the winding course of the Evros, which was often blocked from view by thick stands of trees. The surrounding area was full of corn fields, rice paddies, and thick vegetation. Small dirt roads that shot off in the direction of the river were marked with red signs carrying a stencilled soldier – a warning that entry beyond that point was prohibited.

      Not far away, in the city centre, everyone seemed shocked to learn that so many people had crossed the border this year. It was a problem that most locals assumed was already in the past, given that most of the frontier had been lined with barbed wire and cameras for the past six years.

      But those who have tried and failed to cross the Evros know that the rural quiet harbours dangers the eye can’t see.

      Linda has given up on seeing her fiancé anytime soon – a visa is likely to take years – and she isn’t planning on trying to cross the border again. “I started being afraid because of the things I saw,” she said.


      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/10/08/refugee-pushbacks-across-turkey-greece-border-Evros
      #push-back #refoulement

    • Grèce : le mystère des trois migrantes retrouvées égorgées

      Les corps des trois femmes avaient été découverts le 10 octobre par un agriculteur dans un champ près du fleuve Evros.

      Trois migrantes retrouvées mortes début octobre près du fleuve Evros à la frontière gréco-turque au nord de la Grèce ont été identifiées. Selon la police, il s’agit d’une mère et ses deux filles. Elles ont été égorgées après avoir été entravées.

      Le mode d’exécution pose questions aux enquêteurs, qui privilégient la piste criminelle depuis la découverte des corps en octobre dernier. « Des femmes contraintes à s’agenouiller avant d’être égorgées, pourrait évoquer une action de type djihadiste, mais dans l’immédiat, la police n’exclut ni ne privilégie aucune piste », explique une source policière.

      L’hypothèse d’une « punition » infligée par un réseau de passeurs a aussi été avancée par les médias grecs. L’affaire « est sans précédent dans les annales du pays, c’est un mystère », a relevé la même source policière.


      http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/grece-le-mystere-des-trois-migrantes-retrouvees-egorgees-26-10-2018-79291

    • Le fleuve Évros, cimetière des migrants anonymes

      Ce fleuve boueux, aux courants dangereux et à la profondeur traîtresse, tue et recrache régulièrement des corps quasi impossibles à identifier.

      Bloqué en Turquie, Mustafa a d’abord tenté d’atteindre la Bulgarie par la voie terrestre avec un groupe de migrants afghans. Mais une fois la frontière passée, la police bulgare les a interceptés avant de les renvoyer en Turquie, où ils ont été emprisonnés dans le centre de détention d’Edirne pendant trois mois. Quelques semaines après sa libération, au milieu de l’été 2014, Mustafa a demandé à sa famille restée en Afghanistan, d’envoyer de l’argent à un passeur qui avait promis de l’emmener en Bulgarie – mais cette fois-ci en passant par la Grèce.

      Les cinq jeunes hommes de son nouveau groupe ont alors dû se cotiser pour financer le bateau gonflable qui leur servirait à franchir à deux reprises l’Évros, un fleuve de 480 kilomètres de long qui marque la frontière greco-turque, mais aussi une partie de la frontière entre la Grèce et la Bulgarie.

      La route migratoire qui consiste à traverser l’Évros, fréquemment empruntée depuis les années 1990, est redevenue populaire après l’accord UE-Turquie signé en 2016 visant à limiter les arrivées de migrants dans les îles Grecques via la mer Méditerranée. Cette route a longtemps semblé préférable à emprunter la Méditerranée pour atteindre la Grèce. Mais ce fleuve boueux, aux courants dangereux et à la profondeur traîtresse, car variable, tue et recrache régulièrement des corps quasi impossibles à identifier.

      C’est dans la région grecque de l’Évros que l’on trouve le plus grand nombre de corps de migrants non identifiés en Grèce. À cela s’ajoutent les corps retrouvés du côté turc de l’Évros, et aussi en Bulgarie. À Évros, les employés de la morgue de l’hôpital d’Alexandroúpoli, aidés par le Comité International de la Croix Rouge, tentent d’identifier les corps pour aider les familles qui recherchent un proche disparu.

      Mais tout ça, Mustafa ne le sait pas. Le passeur a acheté un bateau « pour les petits bébés » et « à peine plus grand qu’un lit », se rappelle aujourd’hui Mustafa. En pleine nuit, le groupe trouve un coin où la végétation est assez dense pour les dissimuler. Puis, le passeur et les six Afghans gonflent et s’entassent sur la petite embarcation.

      « Les courants étaient trop rapides pour nager, » explique Mustafa à VICE News. « On a eu peur de mourir [...], que le bateau coule et que des poissons, comme des piranhas, nous mangent. » Le groupe traverse finalement la frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce, en 20 minutes. « On a ensuite récupéré le bateau, car le passeur a dit qu’on en aurait encore besoin, » raconte Mustafa, sa voix douce, mais anxieuse en harmonie avec son visage triste et enfantin.

      En effet, après avoir marché environ deux jours, Mustafa se retrouve face à la même rivière, qu’il doit traverser pour atteindre la Bulgarie. Il fait noir et les branches sous l’eau percent l’embarcation de fortune. Rapidement, Mustafa se débarrasse de son sac à dos pour pouvoir nager. Il s’accroche à des branches, parvient à sortir de l’eau et retrouve le passeur et trois autres camarades. Mais deux des migrants, des jeunes qui n’avaient pas plus de 20 ans, ne sont pas là.

      Objets retrouvés avec les corps de migrants et réfugiés à Évros. Morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Photo de Stylianos Papardelas)

      « Le bateau a coulé, on n’a pas vu ce qu’il s’est passé, mais ensuite, ils avaient disparu, » raconte doucement Mustafa. « On ne les a pas retrouvés. » Après trois jours de marche et une semaine passée au camp de Hamanli, Mustafa est emprisonné dans le centre de détention de Busmantsi près de Sofia. Puis, après encore des semaines de voyage, il atteindra Paris, où il n’a toujours pas réussi à obtenir l’asile et espère faire venir sa femme et ses trois enfants.

      Les deux camarades de voyage de Mustafa ont sans doute rejoint les centaines de victimes de l’Évros, dont les corps, retenus au fond du fleuve par la boue et les branches, sont souvent retrouvés des mois, voire des années, après leur disparition.

      Poppi Lazaridou, assistante à la morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, raconte l’histoire tragique d’une famille afghane. Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Vidéo produite par Christopher Nicholas/Fragkiska Megaloudi/CICR)

      Selon les données communiquées par le CICR, 352 corps ont été découverts entre 2000 et 2017 dans la région de l’Évros, qui borde le fleuve du côté grec. Seuls 105 ont été identifiés. Entre janvier et mai 2017, 841 personnes ont été arrêtées à Évros en essayant de traverser la frontière (contre 1 638 pour la même période en 2016).

      « Mais peut-être qu’il y a plus de corps que nous n’avons pas encore trouvés, » dit le docteur Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste à l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpoli (Grèce). De plus, ces chiffres n’incluent pas les corps retrouvés en Turquie et en Bulgarie. « Je pense que les chiffres [pour la Turquie] sont à peu près les mêmes que du côté grec, » ajoute-t-il, lors d’une interview réalisée par le CICR.

      D’après Pavlidis, la première cause de décès des migrants dans la région, ce sont les noyades. Jusqu’en 2008, la deuxième cause de décès, c’était les mines, disséminées le long de la frontière et retirées cette année-là. Après les opérations de déminage, l’hypothermie a pris la seconde place sur la liste.

      « Quand tu sors de la rivière et que tu es mouillé, tu t’assois dans tes habits trempés, et tu commences à te sentir endormi, et tu meurs d’hypothermie, » explique Pavlidis. « Ils sombrent en fait dans un sommeil profond, ils ne souffrent pas... Ils ne se réveillent jamais. »

      Les passeurs ne laissent pas les migrants emporter leurs sacs sur les embarcations. Ils portent donc beaucoup de couches de vêtements sur eux, explique Pavlidis. Quand le bateau chavire, le poids attire les personnes vers le fond. « Il est impossible de survivre, mais en plus les corps restent sous l’eau et on ne peut pas les récupérer, » dit-il. « Nous avions un cas où la personne a été retrouvée portant quatre pantalons et sept chemises. »

      Il y a quelques années, la plupart des victimes étaient principalement des hommes seuls fuyant l’Afghanistan, le Pakistan ou le Bangladesh, d’après les observations de Pavlidis. Mais depuis la guerre en Syrie, les familles syriennes ont rejoint le groupe. « Maintenant, on va avoir des enfants, des femmes, des grands-pères. » (Selon le CICR, le nombre de familles a récemment recommencé à diminuer.)

      Les corps sont retrouvés par Frontex, la police, l’armée ou par des chasseurs et des pêcheurs, explique Pavlidis. Ils sont souvent dans un état de décomposition avancée, ou mangés par les poissons. Lorsqu’on lui ramène un corps, le médecin enregistre les habits et effets personnels. Ces objets, qu’il collecte depuis environ 15 ans, sont essentiels à la reconnaissance des corps.

      Le docteur Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste et pathologiste, montre et parle des objets retrouvés avec les corps de migrants et réfugiés, à la morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Vidéo produite par Christopher Nicholas/Fragkiska Megaloudi/CICR)

      Puis son équipe procède à une autopsie. Ils prélèvent ensuite un échantillon ADN et l’envoient au laboratoire de la police à Athènes. Si l’échantillon correspond à un profil existant, ils collaborent avec la Croix Rouge Internationale. Et, si quelqu’un recherche un proche qui a traversé l’Évros à cette période, ils poursuivent le processus d’identification.

      Si aucune recherche n’est entamée, les corps quittent la morgue après trois à quatre mois, et sont enterrés dans l’un des trois cimetières musulmans des alentours. La position et le numéro de leur tombe sont archivés afin qu’ils puissent être retrouvés par des proches dans le futur.

      « Nous avons plusieurs recherches fructueuses, mais pas tant que ça, car c’est un procédé très complexe et long, » explique Jan Bikker à VICE News. En tant que médecin légiste du CICR à Athènes, son travail consiste en partie à tenter de retrouver les familles des défunts si le gouvernement grec n’a pas réussi à le faire.

      « Ce n’est pas toujours aussi simple que ça en a l’air : on retrouve des papiers d’identité, mais nous ne sommes jamais sûrs que ce soit la bonne personne, » dit-il. « En effet, les papiers peuvent être faux ou une personne peut être enregistrée sous différents noms, ou porter les papiers de quelqu’un d’autre.

      L’équipe de Bikker aide aussi les familles ayant contacté le CICR à retrouver le corps de leurs proches et à produire un échantillon d’ADN pour procéder à l’identification. Cet échantillon est nécessaire à identifier un corps en trop mauvais état.

      Ce travail est difficile pour plusieurs raisons : les familles peuvent vivre dans des zones de conflits ; être des personnes déplacées ; résider illégalement dans un pays ; ou risquer l’emprisonnement si leur gouvernent apprend que leur proche a quitté le pays.

      « Normalement, nous collectons les informations descriptives qui pourraient nous donner une première piste. Une fois que nous avons une idée et une correspondance possible avec un corps, nous tentons de travailler avec [les proches des disparus] et les autorités pour obtenir l’ADN. »

      Une fois le corps identifié, les familles décident, en fonction de leurs moyens, si elles souhaitent rapatrier le corps dans leur pays d’origine.

      « Nous espérons qu’un cadre légal sera mis en place en Grèce [...] pour la centralisation des informations descriptives dans une base de données centrale avec toutes les informations sur les personnes disparues et les corps non identifiés, » explique Bikker.

      Comme l’explique Fragkiska Megaloudi, chargée de communication au CICR à Athènes, l’identification des morts est de la responsabilité de l’État grec. Le CICR est la seule association aidant l’État grec pour le médico-légal et prend le relais pour les identifications difficiles.

      L’association se charge aussi d’instruire les gardes côtiers grecs sur la manière de gérer dignement les corps, fournit du matériel à l’équipe du docteur Pavlidis, et améliore les cimetières accueillant les migrants et réfugiés.

      « Nous aidons à améliorer et à marquer les tombes, comme ça, si nous trouvons la famille, ils peuvent revenir et trouver la tombe de la personne. Sinon ils ne peuvent pas tourner la page, » dit-elle.

      « Nous reconstruisons de petites histoires autour de ces personnes, mais nous ne savons jamais qui elles étaient, leurs noms, ce qu’elles pensaient, leurs espoirs, leurs rêves... Et elles sont juste mortes ici » dit Megaloudi, émue. « C’est le côté le plus tragique de la crise migratoire. »

      Des agriculteurs d’Évros racontent leurs rencontres avec des migrants et réfugiés de passage à Évros. Grèce. Juillet 2017.

      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/d3qxbw/le-fleuve-vros-cimetire-des-migrants-anonymes-grece-turquie

    • Au nom de tous les morts

      Une poignée de vivants redonne une dignité aux migrants ayant péri aux frontières gréco-turques.

      Il se tient droit, immobile et ferme ses yeux sombres. Une pluie régulière trempe ses mains qui se lèvent au ciel. Il entonne une prière en arabe, ce matin gris de janvier. Mustafa Dawa est seul au milieu d’un champ cerné d’oliviers perdu dans la brume de Kato Tritos, dans le sud de Lesbos.

      Cette terre qu’il connaît par cœur, il y consacre désormais sa vie. En quelques années Mustafa l’a transformée en cimetière. Face à lui se dressent des dizaines de monticules de terre retournée. Des tombes, celles des migrants décédés en ayant voulu venir depuis la Turquie voisine, séparée par un bras de mer.

      Le dernier enterré est un petit Afghan de 10 ans, mort en décembre, piétiné lors d’un mouvement de panique dans un bateau pneumatique. « Je l’ai mis en terre selon le rite musulman », regard tourné vers la Mecque, corps enveloppé d’un linceul, comme les autres résidents du cimetière. Mustafa Dawa montre du doigt sa sépulture à droite, petite montagne de terre mouillée. « On reconnaît les dernières tombes car moins de végétation y a poussé ». Au centre, les tombes les plus anciennes sont recouvertes d’herbes folles. Il en compte aujourd’hui une centaine.

      C’était il y a deux ans et demi mais pour lui c’était hier. Une succession de naufrages, l’indignation et la naissance de ce cimetière. Printemps 2015. Les bateaux gonflables surchargés affluent chaque jour au nord de l’île, à quelque douze kilomètres de la Turquie. À bord, des hommes, femmes, enfants, venus de Syrie, d’Irak, d’Afghanistan...

      L’île aux airs idylliques, dominée par les collines verdoyantes et encerclée d’une mer azur, devient une escale tragique pour près de 600 000 migrants en quête d’Europe. Lesbos est dépassée, les services d’accueil inexistants, les réfugiés qui fuient la misère en retrouvent une autre.

      Un peu perdu au milieu de ces drames, Mustafa Dawa, étudiant en philosophie grecque de 27 ans, est venu du continent pour aider une ONG comme traducteur en arabe. Puis vient octobre, noir. « Ce mois-là, il y a eu trois naufrages. Le cimetière de Mytilène était plein. En plus, les responsables n’y faisaient pas de rituel musulman pour les défunts ». La morgue de Mytilène, aussi, est surchargée. Mustafa a la mémoire des chiffres morbides :

      Environ 80 personnes sont restées dans cette morgue, dont 46 dans un container à côté de l’hôpital pendant 38 jours.

      Mustafa Dawa, traducteur pour une ONG

      « On parle là de dignité »

      Ce container blanc hante toujours aujourd’hui Mustafa. « Les corps étaient entreposés dans des positions déstructurées, nus, raconte-t-il écœuré. Personne n’en parlait, ni les politiques ni les associations ».

      Il croise alors le chemin d’une Syrienne venue d’Allemagne. « Elle cherchait sa sœur et ses enfants. Elle avait une photo de celle-ci, mais c’était très difficile de l’identifier ». Mustafa finit par la trouver « dans le container… reconnaissable seulement grâce à une cicatrice qu’elle portait sur le corps ». Les vagues rejettent sur les plages de galets des cadavres souvent abîmés par la mer.

      La colère de Mustafa se mélange à sa sidération. « Je ne pensais qu’à ça, à ce container, je ne pouvais plus manger, plus dormir, il fallait que je fasse quelque chose ». Il a choisi de leur donner un lieu pour inhumer ces naufragés.

      l se tourne vers la municipalité de Mytilène pour obtenir un terrain. Elle lui demande d’attendre « des autorisations ». Mais il y a urgence, dit Mustafa. « Les questions politiques je m’en fiche, on parle là de dignité ». Un adjoint au maire, George Katzanos, pleure lorsque Mustafa lui décrit ce container. Il lui octroie finalement un champ d’oliviers, à vingt minutes de Mytilène où Mustafa va mettre en terre, à la chaîne.

      En sept jours, en novembre, j’ai enterré 57 personnes. Depuis, je fais ça régulièrement.

      Mustafa Dawa

      Entre 2015 et 2018, Mustafa organise « 96 funérailles ». Quelques familles viennent, d’autres le contactent aussi lorsqu’elles cherchent des proches. « Ce n’est pas mon travail, mais je ne partirai pas de Lesbos tant que le cimetière ne sera pas reconnu et légal. Le gouvernement doit faire venir un imam ». Mustafa explique qu’ « un propriétaire du village veut (le) poursuivre en justice pour fermer le cimetière ».

      Pour cet Égyptien, comment « imaginer un seul instant » déplacer ces tombes ? « Parfois, il y a deux enfants dans une même sépulture. J’ai aussi dû enterrer un homme sans tête à côté d’une autre personne… Je ne voulais pas le laisser seul ».
      Enfouis dans le sable, gisant sur le rivage

      Alexandros Karagiorgis, lui aussi, est resté médusé devant ce corps sans tête. Celui qu’il a ramassé dans un mélange de vase et d’eau, un jour d’octobre 2015. « C’est quelque chose que tu ne peux pas oublier, tu le gardes toute ta vie », exprime ému ce responsable des pompes funèbres pourtant « habitué aux morts ». Deux ans et demi après ce jour, Alexandros Karagiorgis parle vite, dans le désordre et sans silences.

      Fin 2015, il sillonne les côtes de l’île à la recherche des défunts pour les acheminer à la morgue de Mitylène. Les gardes-côtes l’appellent, lui indiquent la présence des morts. Avec sa camionnette, l’homme de 59 ans arpente les routes sinueuses jusqu’à la mer, puis guette les groupes de mouettes dans le ciel. « Elles tournoient autour des cadavres, cela indique leur présence ». Recrachés par les vagues, les naufragés décédés « sont éparpillés », dit-il, « parfois enfouis dans le sable, gisant sur les rivages ou bloqués sur des rochers au loin ».

      Les corps sont déformés par l’eau. Il montre sur son téléphone portable le tronc d’un enfant de 9 ans retrouvé en janvier 2016, boursouflé, méconnaissable.

      Je prenais des photos des cadavres pour les gardes-côtes. J’ai vu de tout. Des femmes, des enfants, des hommes. Un jour j’ai pris le bras d’un homme, il est resté dans ma main. J’ai vu des gens sans bouche, sans yeux…

      Alexandros Karagiorgis, entrepreneur de pompes funèbres

      Sans répit, il travaille « sans penser », des allers et retours incessants entre plage et morgue. « Une fois, j’ai ramené 19 personnes dans la même journée, j’ai cru défaillir. J’ai dû embaucher quatre personnes pour m’aider. Parfois il y avait tellement de corps que je les ai gardés quelques jours dans mes frigos, aux pompes funèbres ».

      Trois ans après, lui aussi vit avec ces fantômes, et ses dettes. « J’ai perdu beaucoup d’argent, je n’ai jamais été payé par la municipalité pour ce que j’ai fait », s’énerve-t-il. La mairie n’a pas répondu à nos sollicitations. Alexandros rappelle que les « sacs pour emballer les corps coûtent 30 euros. Frontex (l’agence européenne des gardes-côtes) m’en a donné 15 ou 20, le reste je les ai financés moi-même et réutilisés ».

      Aujourd’hui, il affirme qu’on « lui a dit d’aller en justice pour être payé ». Il n’ira pas. « Trop cher ». « Tout le monde ne peut pas faire ce travail, il faut avoir des sentiments et paradoxalement de la compassion pour les victimes et les familles. Il faut pouvoir montrer du respect aux morts ». Pour lui « l’Europe et les politiques n’en n’ont aucun, conclut-il amer. Ils n’ont jamais donné d’argent pour ces funérailles. Alors qu’il doit y avoir une dignité pour ces gens ».

      Une simple plaque de marbre

      Alexandros Karagiorgis a ramassé plus de 90 corps. Ils sont au cimetière informel de Mustafa Dawa. Sur chaque tombe, une plaque de marbre offerte par un artisan du coin, avec l’âge, le jour estimé du décès, et lorsque cela est possible, le nom.

      Sur certaines plaques la mention Agnosto (άγνωστο) pour les anonymes. Eux n’ont malheureusement qu’un numéro, celui du protocole d’identification, donné par le médecin légiste de Lesbos Théodoros Noussias. « Les corps étaient acheminés ici, des policiers prenaient ensuite des photos, puis on procédait à l’analyse ADN », détaille-t-il.

      L’échantillon est ensuite envoyé au laboratoire d’Athènes. « Si les familles recherchent leurs proches, elles contactent la Croix-Rouge, et s’organisent pour donner de leur côté leur ADN à leur ambassade, qui le transmet en Grèce pour faire des comparaisons ».

      Certains n’ont jamais été identifiés, les Agnosto. Mais l’ADN a parfois parlé, dit-il. Il lève son regard derrière ses fines lunettes sur un avis de recherche plaqué au mur où quatre visages juvéniles figés apparaissent. Une fille de 12 ans affublée d’un foulard jaune, ses trois frères, âgés de 10 à 16 ans.

       Les parents étaient morts dans un naufrage, ils avaient été retrouvés mais les enfants avaient disparu ». L’oncle a cherché sans répit. Il a sillonné l’île, la côte turque aussi, parlé aux ONG. « On a comparé les ADN. Trois enfants avaient finalement été inhumés à Lesbos, sans identité ». L’un d’eux, l’aîné de 16 ans, n’a jamais été retrouvé, d’après Theodoros Noussias.

      L’identification de ces victimes est un travail de Titan. Les proches des défunts font parfois partie du naufrage mais d’autres anonymes voyagent seuls. Pour leurs familles, laissées loin derrière eux, c’est l’incertitude. Elles n’ont plus de nouvelles, ne connaissent pas leur localisation, les imaginent parfois heureux dans un pays d’Europe.

      Pour trouver les leurs, elles peuvent alors contacter la Croix-Rouge qui a lancé le site « Trace the face », rassemblant des avis de recherche. Pour les proches, chaque détail post mortem qui aide à la reconnaissance d’un disparu est indispensable : tatouage, vêtements mais aussi les rares objets qu’ils portent : livres, bijoux...

      C’est ce que garde méticuleusement dans ses tiroirs Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste à Alexandroupoli, au nord-est de la Grèce, depuis dix-huit ans.
      Les oubliés de la rivière Evros

      L’imposant hôpital d’Alexandroupoli se situe à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de la frontière terrestre gréco-turque. Un autre chemin que des milliers de migrants ont foulé dans l’espoir de trouver asile en Europe. 186 kilomètres délimités naturellement par la rivière Evros et 12 kilomètres de barbelés.

      Médiatiquement oubliée lors des flux importants en 2015 via les îles égéennes, cette frontière reste un point de passage. Une grande partie des exilés franchissent ce long fleuve étroit aux courants parfois intenses, sur des bateaux gonflables. « Les arrivées ont commencé dans les années 1990, au départ des hommes, des Irakiens, Pakistanais, Bangladais, Somaliens… Et en 2010, un pic soudain, avec la venue de femmes, dû aux conflits du Proche-Orient », détaille le médecin.

      Ils se noient pour une grande majorité, mais meurent aussi d’hypothermie ou tués par des mines disposées, avant 2008, entre Grèce et Turquie. Grand homme au regard impassible, Pavlos Pavlidis, 45 ans, vit avec les morts de la frontière, comme ses homologues de Lesbos. Il demeure stoïque lorsqu’il évoque son travail de légiste. Froideur qui lui permet d’avoir du recul sur cette mission de longue haleine.

      Depuis 2000, il a « autopsié plus de 342 corps de migrants », dans le sous-sol frais de l’hôpital. Sur la table basse de son bureau sans fenêtre, le médecin étale les pochons de plastique contenant montres à l’arrêt, cartes sim usées, téléphones ayant trempé dans l’eau…

      « Je veux respecter ces gens, tout faire pour retrouver leurs proches, leur redonner une identité. Garder les objets, c’est mettre toutes les chances de notre côté ». Au total, Pavlos Pavlidis est parvenu à identifier 103 personnes. 

      Le problème de la rivière est qu’elle abîme les corps, les courants, la boue, les poissons créent des blessures post-mortem. Les personnes sont souvent difficiles à identifier.

      Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste

      Il fait défiler des photos de corps sur l’écran de son ordinateur. Des hommes et femmes couverts de terre, visages blanchâtres gonflés ou membres manquants… Peu d’enfants. « Les plus petits êtres sont malheureusement rapidement mangés par les ­animaux ».
      « Tout le monde s’en fiche »

      Alexandros Koutsidis, lui, reste marqué par l’un de ces corps. Celui d’un homme qu’il a découvert alors qu’il chassait à l’aube aux abords de la rivière trouble en décembre. « Il faisait très froid, l’homme flottait, bloqué par un tronc d’arbre, il avait du sang au coin de sa lèvre, son visage était déformé ».

      Ce fermier vit dans le village frontalier de Poros, 300 âmes. En voiture, il longe les champs de blé ou de coton, emprunte des sentiers marécageux pour rejoindre les rives de l’Evros. Dans cette zone militaire interdite au public, seules quelques silhouettes de soldats grecs et turcs se distinguent au loin.

      Les yeux plissés par le soleil, Alexandros, treillis militaire, fixe ce matin de janvier le fleuve large d’environ 10 ou 15 mètres. Sur l’autre rivage, derrière les branches des arbres morts « la Turquie », dit-il. Le bruissement du courant régulier comble le silence. « L’Evros est un piège, elle paraît calme et tranquille, mais en réalité, on s’enfonce dans la boue si on tombe ». Le jour de sa macabre découverte, Alexandros a « tout de suite appelé la police ».

      Ces derniers ont convoqué Pavlos Pavlidis qui a emporté le corps. Alexandros « ne sait pas » où vont ensuite les morts. Dans la région de Thrace-Macédoine, où près de 400 migrants ont perdu la vie en passant la frontière, peu savent en réalité où sont enterrés les fantômes de la rivière. Les autorités locales fournissent peu de sépultures. Alors, c’est le mufti, Mehmet Serif Damadoglou, à Sidero, village isolé dans la vallée qui a pris les choses en main, dans les années 1990.

      C’est au sommet d’une colline inaccessible en voiture, sur un terrain d’herbes sauvages cerné d’une grille, qu’il a placé les dépouilles. Des monceaux de terre déforment le sol, recouvert de ronces où les pieds s’enfoncent. Seules deux plaques de marbre, payées par une famille syrienne indiquent la présence de sépultures.

      Ce « cimetière » de migrants qui n’en a pas l’air est informel, aussi anonyme que ses quelque 400 tombes sans stèle. Certaines contiennent plusieurs corps. « Les politiques n’en ont rien à faire de ces morts. De l’argent est donné mais presque rien, de quoi payer l’acheminement de corps jusqu’au cimetière, s’énerve Akram, le fils du mufti qui a aujourd’hui quitté Sidero. Un jour, un Syrien est venu chercher son frère disparu, personne ne lui a indiqué l’existence de ce cimetière. Je l’ai appris après qu’il soit parti. C’est la réalité, tout le monde s’en fiche ».

      Sur l’une des premières tombes à l’entrée du lieu, un fragment de tissu bleu ondule sous le vent. Des ossements humains dépassent de la terre fouillée, comme le confirme le médecin légiste Pavlos Pavlidis. Les animaux errants sont les seuls visiteurs ou presque de ce cimetière oublié.

      https://www.amnesty.fr/refugies-et-migrants/actualites/au-nom-de-tous-les-morts
      #frontière_greco-turque #Grèce #Evros #Pavlos_Pavlidis #Evros

  • RTS, Détours | Ces anonymes qui rendent #hommage aux migrants

    Des milliers de migrants clandestins ont perdu la vie en Méditerranée. Les naufrages se succèdent et se résument à des chiffres vite recouverts par d’autres informations.

    Premier épisode

    Avec Saida Zha aux pompes funèbres de Los Barrios en Andalousie, Ildefonso Sena, journaliste à Tarifa, Efi Latsoudi, fondatrice de l’association d’aide aux migrants « Le village de tous » à #Mytilène en #Grèce, et Lino Tumbiolo, responsable d’une des principales coopératives de pêche en haute mer à #Mazara_del_Vallo en #Sicile.

    Deuxième épisode

    Avec Domenico Asaro, dit Mimmo, pêcheur à Mazara del Vallo en Sicile, Roberto Ingarciola, armateur capitaine, Christos Manolelis, agent administratif et pêcheur amateur sur l’île de #Lesbos, et #Pavlos_Pavlidis, médecin légiste à #Alexandroupolis, en #Grèce.

    Troisième épisode

    Avec Mehmet Serif Damatoglou, imam de #Sidero près de la frontière gréco-turque, Marili Stroux, membre du collectif « Welcome To Europe » près de #Thermi, Annalisa D’Ancona, Gianpiero Caldarella, Giacomo Sferlazzo et Luca Vitale à #Lampedusa où le collectif #Askavusa – « Pieds nus » en sicilien – a créé le Porto M, un musée autogéré dédié aux migrants.

    http://www.asile.ch/vivre-ensemble/2015/05/09/rts-detours-ces-anonymes-qui-rendent-hommage-aux-migrants
    #cadavres #tombes #mourir_en_mer #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #solidarité #enterrement #Grèce #Italie #Espagne