UNHCR expresses concerns on push-backs of refugees from Greece to Turkey
Syrian refugees go on their daily life in a park in Istanbul on Nov. 3. Over 600,000 Syrian refugees live in Turkey according the official data, with tens of thousands in Istanbul and Ankara under very poor sanitary conditions. AFP photoThe U.N. refugee agency has expressed concerns over the latest reports of refugees being forcibly returned from Greece to Turkey, stating that such acts constitute clear human rights violations.
“The numbers and scale of the alleged incidents, which reportedly also involve persons fleeing Syria, raise serious concerns,” the UNHCR said in a statement Nov. 13 referring to a report issued last week by the German human rights group Pro-Asyl.
UNHCR pointed out that returning those migrants added to the difficulties of a government facing a huge challenge in addressing the needs and providing assistance to refugees, calling for a “global return moratorium” for Syrian refugees to countries in the region.
“Turkey is currently hosting one of the largest numbers of Syrians, with over 500,000 registered refugees. Neighbouring countries are bearing the brunt of the largest humanitarian crisis in recent history and need support from the international community,” the statament said.
The U.N. agency also urged Greek authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of ill treatment of refugees.
“UNHCR is documenting information it receives and is bringing this to the attention of the appropriate authorities. Greek authorities, up to now, respond that such push-back practices would run counter to applicable national or international law, and that such practices do not occur,” the statement added