Council of Europe Slams Greece for Migration Law Limiting Activity of Migrant ‘Taxi’ NGOs

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The Council of Europe has slammed a new Greek migration law that would limit the activities of NGOs picking up migrants in the Aegean Sea.

The Council of Europe stated that it was concerned about the new migration bill, which seeks to restrict the activities of NGOs and other groups that carry out actions which overlap the Greek Coast Guard’s jurisdiction.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic, pictured above on the right, released a statement on the law, insisting that “The Greek parliament should reconsider a legislative proposal currently being discussed, which would seriously hinder the life-saving work carried out at sea by NGOs and their human rights monitoring capacities in the Aegean.”

According to Mijatovic, the restrictions could “severely undermine the necessary scrutiny of the compliance of the operations of the Greek Coast Guard with human rights standards.”

Since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, NGO workers have been accused of helping facilitate illegal migration into Greece and have even been accused of working directly with people-traffickers located in Turkey.

In September of last year, a total of 35 NGO workers from four different NGO groups were accused by Greek police of aiding illegal migrants travelling from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Greek investigators claimed the NGO workers had facilitated at least 32 border crossings and helped around 3,000 asylum seekers enter the country illegally since they began their operations in June of 2019.

Just months later in December, Greek media blamed NGOs for a surge in African migrant arrivals, while Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis alleged that NGOs were directly working with people-smugglers.

“NGOs pay for the cost of travel and the issuance of a visa to Turkey, with flights to Istanbul. Then [the migrants] are transported to the Turkish coast, where migrant smugglers, again with NGO support, help them enter the European Union illegally,” he accused.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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