Pusback Nr 1.486, And Counting

On Thursday, August 11, we published a case on 18 people arriving in Limani Kapis, Lesvos north.

“A boat carrying 18 people, 8 adults and 10 minors, landed north of Limani Kapis, Lesvos north east at 06.00 this morning, one of the new arrivals are pregnant”

Unfortunately only 8 of them made it to safety, 5 was taken to the quarantine camp in Megala Therma, a pregnant women taken to hospital in Mytilíni, Lesvos south, and two taken to the RIC in the south, one remains unaccounted for.

We have identified the 5 taken to the quarantine structure in the north, and the woman taken to hospital from the group of 18 that arrived.

After arriving on Lesvos on the morning of August 11, they split into two groups, a group consisting of 9 people, amongst them 7 minors, was after two hours located by Greek authorities and arrested.

The group was stripped of all belongings and beaten by the police, even the woman, according to information from one of victims. A small boat transported them out to a bigger vessel, after two hours they were left drifting in a life raft outside Dikili, Turkey.

Turkish coast guard found and rescued 9 people in a life raft drifting outside Dikili, Turkey at 15.15 on August 11.

From pictures provided by the group while on Lesvos, we have clearly identified all of them in the pictures and videos taken by Turkish coast guard when they were found drifting outside Dikili.

There isn’t much doubt in who is responsible, especially since 8 of their friends are now officially registered by Greek authorities on Lesvos. They are witnesses and can confirm that the 9 found in the life raft, is the same people they traveled with to lesvos in the early hours of August 11.

In most countries in Europe rule of law is highly valued, and such claims as serious as this would immediately be thoroughly investigated, but not in Greece. Any such investigation would most definitely come to the conclusion that Greek authorities rescued 8 people that arrived this day, and the 9 had somehow found a life raft and paddled the 50 km back to Turkey in under 3 hours, because they had changed their mind for some reason.

The Turkish coast guard had been notified by the Greek coast guard by email that there was a group of people in this area that needed to be rescued. Greek authorities denies any involvement in these illegal pushbacks, but how could they possibly have known that there was people in life rafts in this area, if they themselves hadn’t put them there.

This is the result of Greek authorities inhuman treatment of refugees arriving on Greek Aegean islands, they are hunted like animals, robed, beaten, raped and killed, humiliated in the worst way imaginable, it can only be seen as systematic torture.

Another “successful” illegal operation performed by the Greek coast guard, on direct orders from the Greek authorities, to protect Europe from these unwanted people. In these difficult times it’s easy to see that we do not value life equally, we differentiate between people who are more “similar” to us, the right skin color and religion, and we open our doors, the rest, those unlucky ones, we beat and torture, we mutilate, even kill to keep them out of our precious Europe.

Human rights are everyone’s: they are the rights of every person on Earth, regardless of their race, their nationality, their colour or their beliefs.

How people, who most likely have their own family, children, could do this to people, is beyond me. How can they look themselves in the mirror knowing that they are torturing people on a daily basis.

It’s time for European politicians to take off their blindfolds, it’s time to see that what is going on on the borders of Europe is a crime against humanity, to say “we didn’t know” is no longer an option.We must stop pretending that this doesn’t concern us, that’s it’s “their” rights that are being violated, not ours.

Those rights belong to us all: once they are taken from one of us, they can be taken from us all. It must stop. We cannot simply turn a blind eye to this – the disgrace of Europe. Instead, we must stand, together, and demand better: from our governments, from the EU, from the international community.

The Greek government must stop pretending to ‘know nothing’ about a practice which is clearly its policy. It must stop pretending that every NGO operating in Greece, as well as the UN, international media and the European Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, are in fact somehow ‘employees of’ or collaborators in, Turkish ‘propaganda’.

It must, immediately – as Greece’s Ombudsman has concluded and demands – open truly independent public and accessible investigations into the actions of its own uniformed officers in illegally expelling men, women and children seeking decent places to live.

It amust end this shameful, illegal, dehumanising, embarrassing and unacceptable practice.

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