15 Children Abandoned At Sea

On Monday morning, January 24, a group of approximately 40 people, 15 of them children, landed north east of Aspalathrokampos, Inousses north east.

After arriving they took pictures and videos to document and prove that they had arrived on the Greek island.

Unfortunately this documentation wasn’t sent directly to Aegean Boat Report, but to people claiming to be family, we only received this information from people outside the group, not on location. Second hand information is many times a problem, because we don’t know where the information is coming from, people claiming to be family members can also easily be smuggler’s trying to protect their investment.

To avoid cooperating or assisting smuggler’s and human traffickers, we can only try to help when information is coming directly from people on location. We always ask for number of people, pictures, videos and location, especially location is important, without it we can do nothing, for several reasons. First it is impossible to try to help people when we don’t know exactly where they are, and secondly, the location proves that people are where they say they are. Location can only be sent either as live location or regular location on Whatsapp, any attempt to forward a location received from others will automatically look different from a regular location.

We are doing everything in our power to try to assist new arrivals, but we must also do all we can to avoid assisting criminals. For that reason we can only try to assist when information is coming directly from the source, and when this source can provide proper location information as described above.

When that is said, we totally understand that family and friends are doing what they can to help. Most people contacting Aegean Boat Report is probably who they claim to be, the only problem is that we can’t verify that, it’s only a number on the screen. So please, if in need of assistance, contact Aegean Boat Report Hotline directly on this number on whatsapp, Signal or Telegram.

Please remember that this is NOT a emergency number, if in any emergency call the international emergency number, 112 and you will be rerouted to your nearest emergency call center.

We tried to get the family members who contacted us on behalf of the people on Inousses, to get them to contact us directly, this did unfortunately not happen, for what reason we don’t know.

The following hours pictures, videos and locations was sent to us from these relatives, it was pretty clear that the case was genuine, unfortunately we never got any direct messages from anyone in this group, so there was little we could do.

Pictures and videos clearly shows that this group was on Inousses, locals can easily recognize, houses, the church and roads.

Locals must also have observed the new arrivals on the islands, and probably the once who informed port police. 40 people were taken onboard a vessel from the Hellenic coast guard, transported away from Inousses, in brought daylight, in front of everyone. Most likely locals were told that they would be taken to the refugee camp on Chios, this did unfortunately not happen.

At 17.50 on January 24, Turkish coast guard found and rescued 40 people from two life rafts drifting outside Cesme, Turkey, 15 of them children.

There is absolutely no doubt that the people found drifting in these life rafts were the same people who arrived on Inousses earlier this day, and there is also no doubt on who abandoned these men, women and children in the Aegean Sea.

In most cases it’s close to impossible to stop the Greek coast guard pushing people back, especially at sea. When it comes to people who already have arrived on a Greek island, we can at least document and publish these crimes committed by the Greek government. We know it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing, and if nobody is telling the story, it’s like it never happened, the crimes will go unnoticed.

Aegean Boat Report have been documenting pushbacks in the Aegean Sea for two years, and will continue as long as it is necessary. Hundreds of these cases have been published by international press, putting the spotlight on Greece, if we hadn’t continuously published these cases, this would never have happened. Without information directly from people on the move, this will be impossible, we need direct contact with people just arrived, we need number of people, pictures, videos and locations.

In most cases we can’t stop the Greek government from pushing you back, but we can tell your story, we can give you a voice so that your story is not forgotten. Let Aegean Boat Report tell your story.

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