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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