The Guardian reveals illegal push-backs responsible for more than 2,000 deaths
In an article published on Wednesday, the British newspaper revealed that at least 40,000 people seeking asylum in the European Union have been illegally returned. These operations resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 people.
the Guardian The newspaper reported that “EU member states have used illegal operations to push at least 40,000 asylum seekers from Europe’s borders during the pandemic.” The deaths of more than 2,000 people are linked to these practices.
According to the newspaper, the EU border agency Frontex has systematically pushed back thousands of refugees, including minors, using illegal tactics. He also engaged in violence and inhuman treatment during detention or transport.
The Guardian’s analysis is based on reports published by United Nations agencies, as well as an incident database collected by non-governmental organizations.
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has opened an investigation into Frontex, into allegations of harassment, misconduct and illegal operations aimed at preventing asylum seekers from reaching EU countries.
The survey is a response to a report published by the German magazine Der Spiegel, who accused the agency of being complicit in and aware of pushbacks at the EU’s external borders.
The number of migrants arriving in Europe by land or sea has declined considerably in recent years. In 2020, that figure fell to 100,000 from nearly 130,000 in 2019 and 190,000 in 2017.
Despite declining numbers, several member states, including Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia and Spain, have continued to carry out sweeping anti-migration practices since January last year.
In the wake of the pandemic, the prevalence of push-back practices has increased, with border closures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus having another devastating effect.
According to the annual report published Tuesday, May 4 by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), violence and physical abuse were recorded in 90% of cases linked to illegal returns to the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The data collected also illustrates a 19% increase in these abuses in 2020 compared to 2019.
Legal action against Greece
In October 2020, NGOs called for an investigation after allegations that Greek patrol boats towed migrants into Turkish waters and left them at sea without food, water, life jackets or any other means of calling. help. The Greek Migration Minister denied these claims, calling them “fake news”.
In April, the NGO Legal Center Lesbos lodged a complaint against the Greek state before the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the illegal push-backs at sea.
Intercepted at sea
In the central Mediterranean, migrants to Europe from Libya are repeatedly intercepted by the coast guards and returned to the North African country. According to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency, cited by The Guardian, around 15,500 asylum seekers were intercepted at sea and brought back to Tripoli by the Libyan coast guard operating with EU support.
Italy and Libya have been criticized for turning a blind eye to the tragedies unfolding in the Mediterranean and for failing in their duty to rescue boats in distress. Last month, the two countries ignored calls for help from a distressed boat, 130 people died in the tragedy.