Greece defends decision to return Syrians to Turkey

Greece’s return of 10 Syrian refugees to Turkey, reportedly without considering their asylum claims, is a dangerous move that shows a callous disregard for their safety, Amnesty International said.

Greece defends decision to return Syrians to Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Greek authorities on Saturday hit back at UN criticism of its decision to return a group of Syrians to Turkey.

The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, on Friday said in a statement it was "seriously concerned" by Greece's decision to return 10 Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey, "without due consideration of their asylum claims".

The Syrians were among a group of 91 people who arrived on the Greek island of Milos on October 9. 

They have since been sent back to Adana, Turkey, the UN agency said.

The Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection on Saturday issued a statement saying that the UNHCR's criticism was "unfounded".

"None of the 10 Syrians sent back to Turkey had expressed a wish to seek asylum in Greece," the ministry said, adding that their return was carried out "in accordance with the EU-Turkey agreement".

Under the EU-Turkey deal in force since March, Ankara agreed to take back migrants who made it to Greece in return for being allowed to send Syrians from its massive camps to the bloc in a more orderly redistribution programme.

"The police informed the migrants as soon as they arrived in Milos that they had the right to international protection, and this was repeated to them in (a reception centre on the island of) Leros, where they spent 10 days," the ministry said.

"Even before their departure from Kos airport to return to Turkey, Greek police asked them once more whether they wanted to put in a last-minute asylum request, but only one family of three said they wanted to apply. They subsequently did not have to leave the country for Turkey," it added.

 

Last Mod: 22 Ekim 2016, 15:39
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