Handcuffed and left to drown: Aegean pushbacks turn deadly

Chios, Greece

On 20th March, Turkish authorities issued a complaint against the Greek Coast Guard for their return of asylum seekers from Chios to Turkey, during which three people lost their lives and one remains missing, believed drowned.

In a video posted on Twitter by the Turkish Interior Minister, Süleyman Soylu, two of the returned asylum seekers claim the Greek Coast Guard robbed them, took their phones, and left them drifting on the sea with their hands tied with plastic handcuffs. They state that 7 men were taken from Chios after being on the Greek island for two days, and left to die in the sea.

Despite these disturbing claims, no investigation has been made; it is alleged to be Turkish propaganda, misleading information, fake news. However, with no reason to believe the survivors are not telling the truth, this is by far the cruellest human rights violation involving pushbacks reported so far.

Five years have passed since the EU-Turkey Statement, under which push backs have become commonplace. They are occurring on the watch of our leaders in Brussels and across EU member states. They claim pushbacks are politically necessary and permitted under law. But this is unacceptable.

While the EU turns a blind eye to such illegal and cruel acts, people keep dying systematically and deliberately on European borders. It is in our hands to build up a civil society where authorities are held accountable for human rights violations within their borders and every person on the move is treated with dignity.

Share this story now. This must be investigated.

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