Joint Action for the creation of an initiative of organisations in relation to push-backs

49 civil society organisations co-signed the joint action for the creation of an initiative of organisations against push-backs

30 March 2021

Over the last years, the undersigned organisations have been receiving allegations of push-backs at the country’s land and sea borders. This practice seems to have now acquired systematic characteristics and constitutes an official state policy aiming at the prevention of refugee and migrant flows.

Although not a new phenomenon, this policy of land and sea push-backs has, however, escalated in an unprecedented fashion over the last year, both in terms of frequency of incidents and of the means employed. Dozens of complaints, substantiated by evidence (videos, testimonies and photos), have been recorded.

Of the utmost concern is the reported tolerance and/or involvement of FRONTEX as well as the inaction in conducting a substantial inquiry into the public allegations connected to it. This policy not only constitutes a violation of fundamental principles of international law but also poses a direct threat to people’s lives.

We emphatically point out that:

  • The deterrence of entry as well as the return of persons who have entered Greece, without respecting the legal procedures for the apprehension and registration of the latter and without examining their potential application for international protection, infringes the fundamental principles of international law which prohibit the return of persons to a country where they are at risk of persecution, torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
  • The protection of human life is the ultimate responsibility and obligation of the authorities
  • Targeting and criminalising civil society organisations and citizens who record and publicise push-back incidents at the land and sea borders of the country is dangerous for the Rule of Law and aims at consolidating a climate of fear and of tolerance towards illegal practices

Several of the undersigned organizations have already submitted reports and complaints to international and European bodies, aiming at the effective investigation and prosecution of illegal push-back practices. In addition, we now call on civil society organisations and bodies to come together in an initiative to address the below demands to national, European and international bodies:

  • The immediate end of illegal push-back practices that endanger the Rule of Law and fundamental human rights
  • The establishment of an independent mechanism for the systematic recording and substantiation of reported push-back cases
  • The protection of the victims and the facilitation of their access to justice for the substantial investigation of their complaints
  • The protection of the organisations and citizens that record and publicise incidents of push-backs

The undersigned organisations

  1. ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth, Athens
  2. HIAS – Greece
  3. Refugee Support Aegean
  4. Greek Council for Refugees
  5. HumanRights360
  6. ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΕΝΩΣΗ ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΔΙΚΑΙΩΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ
  7. International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  8. ΣΩΜΑΤΕΙΟ ΥΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΗΣ ΔΙΕΜΦΥΛΙΚΩΝ (ΣΥΔ)
  9. Refugee Legal Support (RLS)
  10. Greek Helsinki Monitor
  11. Greek Forum of Migrants
  12. METAdrasi- Action for Migration and Development
  13. ECHO100PLUS
  14. Refugee Rights Europe (RRE)
  15. Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece, affiliated to the Council of Europe Network of Schools
  16. Positive Voice
  17. NAOMI, Ecumenical Workshop for Refugees
  18. Diakonie Oesterreich (Austria)
  19. Equal Rights Beyond Borders
  20. Glocal Roots
  21. Chios Solidarity
  22. Irida Women’s Center
  23. EuroMed Rights
  24. Mobile Info Team
  25. Europe Must Act
  26. GREEK FORUM OF MIGRANTS
  27. LESVOS SOLIDARITY
  28. Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean (Siniparxi) Mytilini
  29. Legal Centre Lesvos
  30. Fenix – Humanitarian Legal Aid
  31. “ΛΑΘΡΑ;” – Επιτροπή Αλληλεγγύης στους Πρόσφυγες Χίου
  32. CENTRE FOR RESEARCH ON WOMEN’S ISSUES – DIOTIMA
  33. Mobile Info Team
  34. Still I Rise
  35. Mare Liberum
  36. RAD MUSIC INTERNATIONAL
  37. The Hope Project
  38. Attika Human Support
  39. Choose Love
  40. BORDERLINE EUROPE E.V.
  41. Boat Refugee Foundation/Stichting Bootvluchteling
  42. SolidarityNow
  43. Lighthouse Relief (LHR)
  44. Better Days
  45. Changemakers Lab
  46. Irida Women’s Center
  47. ANTIGONE – Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence
  48. Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki
  49. Advocates Abroad

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