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Push-backs and collective expulsions

Push-back practices lead to violations of core rights of asylum-seekers such as the right to asylum and the right to be protected against refoulement. In the past two years, there has been a significant increase in reports of push-backs of asylum-seekers and migrants to Turkey from the Greek-Turkish land border. There is also alarm over reported collective expulsions of groups of asylum-seekers who arrived on the Greek islands and increasing allegations – accompanied in some cases by audio-visual material – about push-backs of refugee boats by masked men and Greek Coast Guard vessels or aggressive deterrence tactics.

Most recent reports refer to conduct including: Greek Coast Guard vessel manoeuvres in high-speed near refugee boats; confiscation of fuel and/or destruction of engines; pointing of guns at the individuals on board refugee boats; towing of the boats towards Turkey, leaving people adrift on often unseaworthy and overcrowded dinghies and putting their lives at risk. In some cases, the reports received referred to the following conduct: ramming of the refugee boats; firing of shots near the refugee boats or in the air.

RSA together with PRO ASYL continues to monitor and document developments and human rights violations in the land and sea border between Greece and Turkey and represent victims of such violations before national authorities and international human rights bodies.

26 Sep: Beyond Farmakonisi: The responsibility of the Greek Coast Guard for human rights violations at sea

Οι παραβιάσεις που εντοπίστηκαν από το Δικαστήριο στην υπόθεση του Φαρμακονησίου δεν αποτελούν ένα μεμονωμένο περιστατικό.

16 Feb: The tragic journey of a Syrian refugee, from Greece back to the earthquake-stricken Afrin

A Syrian refugee ,victim of informal forced return from Greece to Turkey, is among the earthquake victims in the city of Afrin


What remains to be decided are its accompanying measures​

27 Oct: Greece’s criminal policy of unlawful push backs claims another victim

According to all indications the person has been unlawfully pushed back to Turkey.

05 Oct: Stop immediately the pushbacks that endanger human lives and discredit the country internationally

The way in which the Ministry of Migration handled last month’s case concerning the Syrian people who were left stranded for days in Evros, while sparking a general public outcry, cannot but cause concern and call for reflection.

11 Jul: Key points from the Press Conference regarding Farmakonisi Shipwreck

Athens, 11/7/2022 Moderation: Dimitris Angelidis, Journalist Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, former Greece Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees I want to…

07 Jul: Justice for the shipwrecked in Farmakonisi – Invitation to Press Conference​

Today’s judgment from the ECtHR comes eight years following the tragic incident. It vindicates the victims by awarding compensation from the Greek State and brings to light an issue systematically concealed in public discourse: push backs and systematic deterrence practices which put lives at risk on a daily basis in Evros and the Aegean.

24 Jun: Systemic breaches of the rule of law and of the EU asylum acquis at Greece’s borders brought before the European Parliament

six Greek civil society organisations, members of the Informal Forced Returns Recording Mechanism established by the Greek National Commission for Human Rights in response to systematic push back allegations in the country, submitted a briefing to the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), covering systemic breaches of the rule of law and the EU acquis by Greek authorities.

07 Apr: National Transparency Authority should publish the full investigation regarding pushbacks in accordance with the principle of transparency 

National Transparency Authority should publish the full investigation regarding pushbacks in accordance with the principle of transparency Download the Press…

19 Oct: The timeline of a pushback of a Syrian refugee in Evros, as documented by RSA

Greek authorities unlawfully pushed a group including Syrian refugee back to Turkey through the Evros land border, while a procedure for interim measures was pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

28 Apr: Greek civil society requests European Commission assessment on respect of EU asylum law safeguards at the Greek borders

Download the Letter In a letter sent on 27 April 2021 to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson,…

30 Mar: Joint Action against push-backs signed by 49 NGO’s

Over the last years, the undersigned organisations have been receiving allegations of push-backs at the country’s land and sea borders….


Athens, May 2, 2019 The borders of Greece at Evros tend to become an area outside the law, a place…

20 Jun: Syrian acquitted for deaths of refugees in Farmakonisi case

The Felony Appeal Court of Dodecanese in Rhodes decided yesterday that the young Syrian – sentenced initially to 25 years…