Human Rights Watch

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Greek Crackdown on Refugees

Bill Frelick Reports from the Scene

Wednesday 04 March 2020


Mytilini, Lesvos. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cynical move to open his western EU borders to allow refugees and migrants to leave -- while keeping his southern border to Syria shut to asylum seekers desperate to escape the onslaught there -- throws an enormous challenge to Greece and the European Union. Greece has responded with brutality and disregard for fundamental refugee rights. Disturbingly this approach has won unworthy praise from EU leaders, touting Greece as Europe’s shield, while they ignore both the suffering of those at the EU’s borders, and the urgency of desperate Syrians fleeing the Syrian-Russian indiscriminate bombing near Turkey’s border. 

(Athens) – Greece is detaining more than 450 people on a naval vessel docked in the Mytilene harbor in Lesbos and is refusing to allow them to lodge asylum claims in flagrant violation of international and European law, Human Rights Watch said today. Detention aboard the ship may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

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