ABR Response To Misinformation In Protothema Article

14.12.2020

  1. Aegean Boat Report has not, does not, and never will guide people to the Eastern Aegean islands.
  2. People travelling to the EU are not ‘illegal immigrants’.
  3. By stating that ABR guides people to the islands, and by calling men, women and children ‘illegal immigrants’, the Greek government – and you – are doing a great disservice to every Greek citizen.

We are disappointed, though no longer surprised, to read, once again, an article in which men, women and children following international law and international agreements on human rights are being attacked as ‘illegal’ by journalists acting on false information supplied by a government department.

We must state, at the outset, that no person is ‘illegal’ just because they enter the EU: it is the fundamental human right of any person to enter a country – with or without paperwork – as long as they apply for asylum at the first available opportunity.

For this reason, continually describing men, women and children landing on the Eastern Aegean islands as ‘illegal’ does a disservice to the Greek public because it is misinformation. And it harms every single person everywhere in the world, because these rights belong to all of us, and the more they are attacked, the more they are weakened. That is, when one strips the rights of a Somalian teenager, one also strips the rights of one’s own son, daughter, grandmother or niece.

We must also address, once again, false information about us, Aegean Boat Report, as an organisation.

This article makes it appear that Aegean Boat Report in some way ‘guides’ people to the Eastern Aegean islands. Aegean Boat Report has not, does not, and never will guide people to the Eastern Aegean islands.

What we do is to ensure that those people who have made it to the Eastern Aegean islands are picked up by the appropriate organisations and entered into the proper legal system – that is, that they are taken to the government and EU’s camps and are then able to apply for asylum as international law states they can.

We should not have to do this. The sole reason we have to is that the Greek government and EU’s border patrols are absolutely failing to do their jobs, and are breaking the law. This would be bad enough in and of itself, but in fact it has created a situation where we – and organisations working on the islands – are the sole reason men, women and children are not roaming the islands searching for food and shelter.

We are providing a public service for Greek people and for those who have been forced to flee their homelands alike. And yet we are being slandered repeatedly by the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, and as a result, we are being libelled by articles such as this one.  

We understand that you received this ‘information’ from the Ministry and we recognise that you should be able to trust what you are being told by your own government. But the information you have been given by the Ministry about us is false – perhaps because of the reports we carry out regarding the Greek government and EU’s illegal policy of pushing people back from its waters – and as a result you have here misinformed your readers.

We, and those readers, deserve much better than that, and we must request that you correct this very serious error immediately.

Once again: Aegean Boat Report has not, does not, and will never, ‘guide’ people to the Aegean islands. We simply speak to those who have arrived, and ensure they enter the legal system. The Greek government and wider EU should be doing that, as it is to the benefit of everyone, including every Greek and EU citizen. Because they have refused to fulfil this basic responsibility, we have to do so for them.

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