Greece accused of expelling migrants

July 27, 2009 at 8:53 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 27 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch is watching Greek authorities who arrest asylum seekers and send them to the north, a spokesman for the group said in Switzerland Monday.

"These operations and transfers are very worrying," said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director, in Geneva. "We fear that people are being prevented from seeking asylum, that children arriving alone are not being protected, and that migrants are kept in unacceptable detention conditions and possibly even being secretly expelled to Turkey."

Frelick said Human Rights Watch received reports from a credible source saying Greek police transferred a group of Arabic-speaking people from Chios Island to the Evros border region in mid-July. The source claimed they were then secretly forced to cross the border into Turkey.

Other incidents documented by Human Rights Watch included officials stopping people from applying for asylum. Officials also prevent asylum-seekers from crossing the border from Turkey, a Human Rights Watch report said.

"The European Union must hold Greece accountable for acts contrary to international and European human rights and refugee law, and it needs to act fast, as the lives of many are at risk," Frelick said.

Topics: Bill Frelick
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