“Human rights disaster” as Greece intensifies “pushbacks” of refugees | Global development


At around 1 a.m. on August 24, Ahmed (not his real name) got into a rubber dinghy with 29 other people and left Çanakkale province in northwestern Turkey. After 30 minutes, he said, they reached Greek waters near Lesvos and a panther boat from the Hellenic Coast Guard approached.Eight police officers in shorts and blue shirts, some wearing black masks and armed with guns, forced the group – more than half of the women and including several minors and six young children – to board at gunpoint. They pierced the canoe with knives and it sank. “They said they would take us to a camp,” Ahmed said. “The children were happy and started to laugh, but I knew they were lying.”

During the night, Ahmed, a 17-year-old refugee from Eritrea, alleges that Greek agents detained the group, confiscating their property and denying them access to toilets and drinking water. In the morning, they were sent on a life raft in Turkish waters. He was too small, and videos taken by Ahmed, who hid his phone, show some people were forced to swim. The Turkish Coast Guard confirmed that they intercepted the raft at 1:20 p.m.


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