Greek Oxford law professor criticizes Greece’s migrant pushbacks


Professor of Law at Oxford University, author of several legal textbooks, British barrister and Greek policymaker who helped form the Greek political party “To Potami,” Pavlos Eleftheriadis stated that Greece should launch a comprehensive investigation into its pushbacks of irregular migrants, which run contrary to the European Union and international humanitarian law.

In his opinion piece published in the Politico newspaper, Eleftheriadis criticized the lack of adequate investigations in Greece regarding the pushbacks in the Aegean.

Highlighting that in recent years, international media and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have reported hundreds of cases of illegal pushbacks by the Greek authorities, Eleftheriadis pointed out that these reports began to appear before the current government took office in 2019, and their number has increased since March 2020.

Eleftheriadis noted that there were reports of irregular migrants who were subjected to violence – and the subsequent killing of an Afghan migrant after Eleftheriadis’ article – at the Meriç (Maritsa) River, which demarcates the land border between Turkey and Greece, while in the Aegean there were allegations by migrants that Greek coast guard units pushed migrant groups, including children, to the Turkish coast in a way that endangered their lives, and there were videos and photographs supporting them in their claims.

Stating that the Greek government claimed that all these reports were false and “a product of Turkish propaganda,” Eleftheriadis argued that the Greek judicial system did not adequately investigate the events.

Recalling the warnings made by international institutions to Greece on this issue, Eleftheriadis used the following statements: “The government should ask its most senior prosecutors to open the widest possible investigation into pushback allegations. It should provide resources for prosecutors to interview witnesses in Turkey. “

Asking the government to stop describing immigrants as a “security threat,” Eleftheriadis assessed that, “The claim that families and children are a security threat is completely unfounded, they do not harm anyone. Moreover, they have rights under the Greek Constitution. “

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