Enter at Your Peril

Lives put at risk at the gate of Europe
Enter at Your Peril


Date of publication:  01 Jul 2013 Publisher:  Amnesty International Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

In the last few years, Greece, with backing from the EU, has invested millions of euros to keep migrants out. Detention – often in appalling conditions – is the routine fate of those who arrive in Greece irregularly. However, not everyone who sets out for Greece will arrive there. Since August 2012, at least 101 men, women and children, mostly Syrians and Afghans, have died attempting to cross the sea to reach the Greek islands. Reports of push-backs (the unlawful and often dangerous practice of returning intercepted migrants to Turkey) are frequent. The Greek government has the prerogative to control the entry into and stay of non-nationals in Greek territory, and the EU can support member states in carrying out legitimate border control activities. But the methods used on Greece’s border with Turkey have led to serious human rights violations. The policies and practices along the Greek border do not just shame Greece. They shame the European Union as a whole. They expose the bitter irony of European countries pressing for peace abroad while denying asylum to and risking the lives of those who seek refuge in Europe from conflicts in their homelands. Migrants and refugees interviewed by Amnesty International described at least 39 separate instances of push-backs from Greece to Turkey, which they claimed to have experienced themselves between August 2012 and May 2013. They reported that they were never given an opportunity to explain their situation or challenge their deportation. These people had already travelled a long way to reach the border: from Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Cameroon.

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