A brand new investigation claims that the European Border and Coast Guard Company or Frontex has been concerned in forcing again not less than 957 asylum seekers within the Aegean sea between March 2020 and September 2021.
Pushing again individuals who enter EU territorial waters is against the law beneath the bloc’s laws and member state and worldwide legal guidelines.
Nonetheless, a variety of accusations towards Greek authorities for carrying this out — with the EU’s border company both figuring out about it or giving consent — have come to the fore because the first main migration disaster of 2015.
The newest joint investigation involving Lighthouse Experiences, Der Spiegel, SRF, Republik and Le Monde has found 22 incidents involving a whole lot of migrants which Frontex formally registered as “preventions of departure”.
“We’ve had entry to the Frontex database referred to as JORA, which (means) ‘Joint Operation Reporting Utility’ the place we will see that quite a lot of these operations had been listed as ‘prevention of departure,'” Lighthouse Experiences journalist Tomas Statius advised Euronews.
In accordance with Statius, the pushbacks observe a standard state of affairs the place the Greek border patrol returns the migrants to the open sea, even when they’re discovered after touchdown on Greek territory.
“A migrant we interviewed truly claimed that the Greeks intercepted them on Greek soil, after which put them on a Greek boat after which left them within the Aegean in a small life raft,” Statius mentioned.
“We are able to see within the footage the identical life raft, orange life raft the place migrants had been rescued by the Turkish coast guard.”
Frontex was conscious of the pushback “as a result of on the time there was a Frontex asset aircraft or drone, a helicopter that witnessed the scene from the sky truly,” Statius defined.
The company has defended itself by saying that it doesn’t have the mandate to intervene or examine an motion that befell in a European nation. The Greek authorities rejected all accusations as unfaithful with out offering additional particulars.
Nonetheless, Statius believes that as an EU company that was given its mandate by the European Fee and the bloc’s member states, Frontex — based in 2004 — needs to be requested about its true objective.
“What we have to ask ourselves is, effectively, how lengthy will we wish to witness these footage — fairly surprising ones — and let the company say it’s not its mandate to research or do something about that,” Statius concluded.
Watch the interview with Lighthouse Report journalist Tomas Statius within the participant above.