‘Mounting evidence’ of refugee pushbacks from Greece to Turkey: UN

‘Every person, every migrant, trying to cross international border has right of individual assessment,’ says UN rights official.

‘Mounting evidence’ of refugee pushbacks from Greece to Turkey: UN

A UN Human Rights office spokeswoman on Tuesday said her office is receiving “mounting evidence” of pushbacks of asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey in recent times.

“Push backs are illegal under international law and should not happen,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said at a UN press conference.

“Every person, every migrant, trying to cross an international border has the right of an individual assessment,” Hurtado said.

To a question by Anadolu Agency about the pushbacks, Hurtado said her office is currently talking with the EU.

“For a few months, we’ve been trying to confirm and see what the EU should do to stop the undertaking of these pushbacks on the external borders,” Hurtado said.

Last Friday, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson urged Greece to investigate illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting of EU interior affairs ministers in Luxembourg, Johansson said she expects Greece to “take it seriously, do the investigation, and find out what really happened.”

At Tuesday’s news conference, Hurtado said her office is “extremely worried about the continued suffering of migrants and asylum seekers in Libya who are experiencing a myriad of daily violations and abuses.

“We also call on the Libyan authorities to release all arbitrarily detained migrants and asylum seekers, cease the raids on their settlements, halt evicting them, and stop criminalizing them,” Hurtado said.

“We encourage the authorities to reform the legislation to decriminalize irregular entry, stay, and exit of people,” she added.