06.02.2014

Reco­ver the boat and the dead – con­sult inter­na­tio­nal experts

To com­ple­te­ly elu­ci­da­te the 12 deaths off the island Far­ma­ko­ni­si, the refu­gee boat and the ten mis­sing women and child­ren, which pres­um­a­b­ly are still insi­de it must be reco­ve­r­ed imme­dia­te­ly. All infor­ma­ti­on drawn from EUROSUR, mili­ta­ry sur­veil­lan­ce sys­tems, the Tur­kish Coast Guard, the radio traf­fic, etc. must be pro­vi­ded to the public and law enforce­ment agen­ci­es. If any sal­va­ge attempts should fail due to the cost, the EU must ensu­re fun­ding. Other EU mem­ber sta­tes should send com­pe­tent res­cue teams to loca­te the sun­ken boat and reco­ver it.

The con­di­ti­on of the boat would offer important pro­of on how the dead­ly ope­ra­ti­on was car­ri­ed out. The rela­ti­ves have a right to bury their dead in digni­ty and they have the right to learn why their loved ones had to die. Cur­r­ent­ly the poli­ti­cal­ly respon­si­ble in Greece are pal­ming off with some very con­tra­dic­to­ry infor­ma­ti­on about the alle­ged appre­hen­si­on – and the place of the refu­gee boats’ sin­king. The fact that the GPS of the coast guards boat was coin­ci­dent­ly tur­ned off or not func­tio­n­ing in the moment of the tra­ge­dy streng­t­hens the pre­vai­ling doubts.

Send human rights obser­vers – end Fron­tex ope­ra­ti­on

In the ope­ra­tio­nal area of Fron­tex “Posei­don Land and Sea” human rights vio­la­ti­ons are car­ri­ed out sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly and suc­ces­si­ve­ly. The EU-Com­mis­si­on must final­ly take deter­mi­ned action against the­se. The pres­su­re on the Greek Pre­si­den­cy must be increa­sed: PRO ASYL demands EU-Infrin­ge­ment pro­cee­dings and the cut off of all EU funds, which are used for human rights vio­la­ti­ons. The European Uni­on must send well-appoin­ted human rights obser­vers to the Greek-Tur­kish bor­der. At the same time, bor­der agen­cy Fron­tex ope­ra­ti­on in the Aege­an must end. Accord­ing to the Fron­tex Regu­la­ti­on and due to the ongo­ing human rights vio­la­ti­ons in Fron­tex „Posei­don Land and Sea“ ope­ra­tio­nal area all cri­te­ria are met accord­ing to which the ope­ra­ti­on must be can­ce­led [i].

The sys­te­ma­tic human rights vio­la­ti­ons are docu­men­ted in the PRO ASYL report „Pushed back“ of Novem­ber 7th, 2013, the reports of UNHCR about collec­tive expul­si­ons vio­la­ting inter­na­tio­nal law as well as reports of fur­ther human rights orga­ni­za­ti­ons.

The sys­te­ma­tic ille­gal push-backs are impli­citly con­fir­med by Fron­tex sta­tis­tics them­sel­ves: The mas­si­ve decli­ne of new­ly arri­ving asyl­um see­kers in Greece – of more than 31,000 refu­gees and migrants in 2012 to near­ly 9,000 peop­le in the first nine mon­ths of 2013 – is only expli­ca­ble due to vio­la­ti­ons of inter­na­tio­nal law and inhu­man push-back prac­tices.

On this back­ground Fron­tex can­not white­wash any­mo­re and can­not escape its respon­si­bi­li­ties. The ope­ra­ti­on of the Greek Coast Guard – which is very likely to be a fatal­ly run out of con­trol push-back ope­ra­ti­on – occur­red in Fron­tex’ ope­ra­tio­nal area. The invol­ved boat accord­ing to the Greek Coast Guard is also part of Fron­tex ope­ra­ti­on „Posei­don Land and Sea“.

PRO ASYL does not claim that non-Greek Fron­tex units were invol­ved in the dead­ly ope­ra­ti­on. But apart from a few excep­ti­ons all sys­te­ma­tic push-backs in the Aege­an docu­men­ted by PRO ASYL took place in Fron­tex’ ope­ra­tio­nal area.

The mul­ti­an­nu­al Fron­tex ope­ra­ti­on has not led to a chan­ge in prac­tice or even a „civi­li­za­ti­on“ of the bru­tal defen­se sys­tem against immi­gra­ti­on in Greece. Rather, a divi­si­on of labor was estab­lished in the Aege­an of the „clean“ form of defen­se against refu­gees (Fron­tex) with the „Ram­bo“ approach of the Greek Coast Guard which has tur­ned this bor­der area to a human rights-free zone. This unho­ly alli­an­ce must end imme­dia­te­ly.

 12 refu­gees die during alle­ged push-back ope­ra­ti­on off Greek island (22.01.14)

 PRO ASYL releases new report: “PUSHED BACK”  (07.11.13)

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