NGO in Greece reacts to migrant trafficking accusations

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The Greek authorities has claimed that NGOs facilitated the unlawful crossing of Somali migrants from Turkey to Greece. Now, Aegean Boat Report has responded to these claims, staunchly denying them.

Aegean Boat Report launched a press assertion on Wednesday, responding to accusations that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had been concerned in migrant smuggling.

“We’re not, by no means have been and by no means will likely be a part of any smuggling community and we don’t work, have by no means labored, and can by no means work with any particular person or folks [who is/are] smuggling folks on any route, in any a part of the world,” the group — which tracks migrant boat arrivals within the Aegean Sea — wrote.

“The Aegean Boat Report, together with all assist organizations working to assist the Greek authorities and the EU with the refugee response in Greece, strongly opposes folks smuggling between Turkey and Greece,” the Norwegian NGO mentioned. Additionally they accused Greece’s management of “an unprovoked and intentionally deceptive assault on our group.”

Claims from migration minister

Greece’s migration minister Notis Mitarakis accused unnamed NGOs of serving to migrants cross the border in a press convention on Tuesday.

Mitarakis, talking to international correspondents in Athens, said that his ministry had “witness testimony and confirmed info” that NGOs had been serving to Somali asylum seekers journey to Turkey, and from there helped prepare their crossing to Greece through migrant smuggling networks.

Mitarakis claimed that “NGOs pay for the price of journey and the issuance of a visa to Turkey, with flights to Istanbul. Then [the migrants] are transported to the Turkish coast, the place migrant smugglers, once more with NGO help, assist them enter the European Union illegally.”

Mitarakis additionally accused Turkey of being involved in bringing Somali migrants to Greece.

Since November 1, a complete of 214 migrants have arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos — 142 of them are reportedly from Somalia.

Pushback accusations

Of their rebuttal to Mitarakis’ claims, Aegean Boat Report criticized the Greek authorities for not doing sufficient to assist migrants and refugees. Additionally they reiterated accusations that Greece had illegally pushed again asylum seekers.

They mentioned they tracked migrant arrivals in Greece “as a result of the boys, girls and youngsters travelling to the EU are nicely conscious by now that the Greek authorities practices unlawful pushbacks, and if we didn’t assist to make sure that they had been discovered, they might try to remain in hiding on arrival.”

They added: “Not one of the folks arriving on the Greek islands are ‘unlawful immigrants’. They’re asylum seekers exercising their basic human rights. The Greek state could after all resolve whether or not to grant asylum to Somalis, whose nation is a failed state and which has been in a state of battle for greater than 30 years.”

Arrivals from Turkey dropped

The variety of refugees and migrants trying to cross from Turkey to Greece has dropped significantly in 2020, partially as a consequence of stricter border controls. However makes an attempt by migrants to make it to the Greek islands by boat from Turkey are nonetheless a weekly prevalence.

Greece and EU border safety company Frontex have come below fireplace in current weeks for his or her alleged involvement in pushbacks from Greece again to the Aegean Sea. Final week, European Union lawmakers called for the head of Frontex to resign over allegations that his company helped illegally cease migrants or refugees coming into Europe.

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