06 May 2020
In response to the recent spike in pushbacks from Greece to Turkey, the Border Violence Monitoring Network, with members Mobile Info Team and Wave Thessaloniki , are releasing first hand testimony and photographic evidence indicating the existence of violent collective expulsions. In the space of six weeks, the teams received reports of 194 people removed and pushed back into Turkey from the refugee camp in Diavata and the Drama Paranesti Pre-removal Detention Centre.
"In the case of Diavata, respondents report being removed from this accomodation centre by police with the information that they would be issued a document to temporarily regularise their stay (informally known as a “Khartia” ). Instead they shared experiences of being beaten, robbed and detained before being driven to the border area where military personnel used boats to return them to Turkey across the Evros river. Meanwhile, another large group was taken from detention in Drama Paranesti and expelled with the same means. Though the pushbacks seem to be a regular occurence from Greece to Turkey, rarely have groups been removed from inner city camps halfway across the territory or at such a scale from inland detention spaces. Within the existing closure of the Greek asylum office and restriction measures due to COVID-19, the repression of asylum seekers and wider transit community looks to have reached a zenith in these cases."
Press release from Border Violence Monitoring, Wave Thessaloniki and Mobile Info Team (link). Case studies are contained in a pdf (link).
Case studies: Press Release – Documented Pushbacks from Centres on the Greek Mainland (pdf)
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