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Greece's Social Democratic Opposition Urges Investigation After BBC Claims Coast Guard Pushbacks Led To Migrant Deaths

19.06.2024 17:12

Protection of human life, respect for international law, Greek constitution cannot be negotiated, says PASOK party.

Greece's social democratic opposition PASOK party has urged an investigation after a BBC report alleged that illegal Greek Coast Guard pushbacks in the Aegean Sea led to the deaths of migrants.

"The protection of human life and dignity, respect for International Law and the Greek Constitution, however, cannot be negotiated," it said in a statement, drawing attention to the wider political consensus on the need to guard the borders and on the criminal role of human trafficking rings.

"Without further delay an in-depth investigation and attribution of specific responsibilities, wherever they exist, is required," it said.

A BBC investigation Monday said 43 victims died in 15 separate incidents linked to the actions of the Greek Coast Guard over a three-year period.

The accusations stem from practices where migrants were forced out of Greek territorial waters, known as pushbacks, or returned to the sea after reaching Greek islands.

The primary sources for the allegations include media reports, non-governmental organizations and the coast guard in neighboring Türkiye.

Footage obtained by the BBC showed 12 people being loaded onto a Greek Coast Guard boat and subsequently abandoned on a dinghy.

The Greek government has faced long-standing accusations from NGOs, governments and international watchdogs of engaging in forced returns, often pushing migrants -- including women and children -- back toward Türkiye, where they initially crossed.

Such actions are illegal under international law. Despite the accusations, the Greek Coast Guard has firmly denied any involvement in illegal activities.

This investigation marks the first time the number of fatal incidents has been calculated involving the Greek Coast Guard.​​​​​​​ -

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