The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on the European Union to investigate allegations that illegal migrants are being immediately deported at its borders, before they can claim to be seeking asylum.
Immediate deportations at the border, commonly referred to as pushbacks, have been reported on the European Union’s land and sea borders, and allegedly recorded by pro-migration non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the areas.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, released a statement on Thursday calling on the EU to investigate the allegations, Greek newspaper I Kathimerini reports.
“UNHCR has received a continuous stream of reports of some European states restricting access to asylum, returning people after they have reached territory or territorial waters, and using violence against them at borders,” Triggs claimed.
Triggs also claimed that migrant boats were being towed back to their point of origin and others were being put back out to sea after having landed.
Over 30 NGO Workers Implicated in Facilitating Illegal Migration by Greek Police https://t.co/RDBo3eboV8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 30, 2020
The claims follow allegations that the European Union border agency Frontex had been directly involved in pushbacks last year in the Aegean Sea.
Kati Piri, a Dutch Labour Party MEP, went as far as demanding the resignation of the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, saying: “In his handling of these allegations, Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has completely lost our trust and it is time for him to resign.”
The Greek government, meanwhile, has accused certain NGOs of working with people-smugglers in Turkey and helping migrant boats avoid Greek border patrols in the Aegean.
In September, over 30 NGO workers, many of them foreigners, were implicated in aiding people-traffickers and facilitating illegal migration from Turkey. Greek investigators said the group was linked to at least 32 border crossings and helped around 3,000 migrants enter the country.
It remains a matter of surprise for many ordinary members of the public that it is not standard practice to turn back migrants who illegally cross national borders from safe countries, whether they are arriving in the EU from Turkey or in the UK from France.
MEPs Tell Frontex Head To Quit Claiming Agency Illegally Stopped Migrants https://t.co/XEwFejIYfJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 3, 2020