migrants in greece are beaten, face violence, and forced to return
Greece – one of the main gateways into the European Union (EU) for refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa – is a popular destination among asylum seekers. Migrants seeking safety in Europe are often met on Greece’s Aegean islands with violence. They are handcuffed, strip-searched, and forcibly sent back to sea. Sometimes, migrants’ mobile phones, money, and medications were also confiscated.
Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders has accused Greek officers of beating them and conducting forced returns of migrants. MSF has published a report titled, “In plain sight: The human cost of migration policies and violent practices at Greek sea borders,” to highlight the plight of the migrant workers.
Migrants arriving in Greece face physical violence
Migrants arriving in Greece had faced “physical violence, including being beaten, handcuffed, strip-searched, having their possessions confiscated, and forcibly sent back to sea.”
In a shocking incident, the authorities in Greece handcuffed migrants with plastic cable ties and beat them with batons and sticks. MSF said asylum-seekers faced intense violence.
Christos Christou, the international president of Médecins Sans Frontières, said, “We urge the Greek government and European leaders to take immediate measures to ensure that individuals seeking protection in Greece are treated with humanity and dignity.”
Migrants told the MSF that they were trapped in “vicious cycles of violence, pushbacks and repetitive dangerous sea crossings.”
A pregnant migrant woman was also handcuffed and beaten. A migrant woman named Elizabeth said, “They even stepped on the other lady’s stomach, beating her.”
Migrants have also reported instances of violence and mistreatment during these deportations. Violence has become part of the border management system on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos.
Some migrants were seen screaming and crying after being beaten. Some migrants were handcuffed with zip ties by masked men.
In June, Greece migrant boat tragedy triggered calls for urgent and decisive action. The vessel was in distress since the morning of June 13. After it sank, the Hellenic Coast Guard announced a large-scale search and rescue operation on the morning of June 14.
Greece and its authorities have failed to hold the perpetrators. The pushbacks constitute a violation of international law and human rights. It is important to ensure the fair and humane treatment of migrants and refugees.