Migrants turned back at sea in Lesbos: Greece claims to carry out “an investigation”

Last week, a video released by the New York Times showed pushbacks of migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. Outgoing Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ured Tuesday that his government was “conducting an investigation” “I have taken this matter very seriously” and “an investigation is already being carried out by my government”, he indicated during a meeting. ‘a interview on CNN.

The video, shot by a human rights activist in April in Lesvos and published by the NYT on Friday, shows a group of migrants, including a baby, being driven in a white van towards the southern tip of the island.

Rescued by Turkish coastguards

Embarked on board a small boat, they are then transferred to a Greek coast guard boat before being abandoned on “a drifting black inflatable life raft”, according to the NYT. Turkish coastguard boats then rescued them.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs ylva johansson have already called for an “independent and effective investigation”.

The Greek authorities are regularly accused of practicing deportations to Turkey of people seeking asylum in the European Union, a practice condemned by international law.

Mitsotakis accuses Ankara

The Greek government has always rejected these accusations, despite recurrent testimonies from migrants and reports from NGOs. Under European rules, the first country of entry of a migrant into the European Union is responsible for their asylum application.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated that he had pursued a “strict but fair” migration policy for four years and was pleased to “have significantly reduced the activity of traffickers”. He called the practice of pushbacks “completely unacceptable” and again accused neighboring Turkey and the Turkish Port Police of “pushing desperate people into Greek territory on inflatable boats that cannot sail”.

The CNN interview comes two days after the landslide victory of the conservative New Democracy party led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the legislative elections.

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