Norwegian NGO Aegean Boat Report has vehemently denied accusations levelled in opposition to it by Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis of helping migrant smugglers within the Aegean.
“We’re astonished at this unprovoked and intentionally deceptive assault on our organisation. Aegean Boat Report, in frequent with all assist organisations working to assist the Greek authorities and the EU with the refugee response in Greece, strongly opposes folks smuggling between Turkey and Greece,” Aegean Boat Report founder and director Tommy Olsen stated in an emailed press launch on Wednesday.
“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 individual or folks smuggling folks on any route, in any a part of the world,” he added, noting that the NGO locates males, ladies and youngsters who arrive on the Greek islands, “partially as a result of the Greek authorities persistently fails to carry out this primary perform.”
As soon as they’re positioned, the NGO ensures that they’re taken to camps the place they’ll enter the right authorized processes.
“We’re compelled to do that as a result of the lads, ladies and youngsters travelling to the EU are properly 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’d try to remain in hiding on arrival. This might be the worst of all doable outcomes for each individual together with the residents of Greece and wider EU,” he added and referred to as on mitarakis to cease attacking his “baseless assaults.”
“If he needs to allege we now have acted illegally or improperly he should produce one thing greater than a small variety of refugees saying that smugglers in Turkey know the identify Aegean Boat Report’and inform them in the event that they try to contact us they are going to be given dry clothes and a bottle of water.”
In a briefing with the international press on Tuesday, Mitarakis accused unnamed nongovernmental organizations of facilitating the unlawful crossing of dozens of undocumented Somali migrants from Turkey into Greece.
He stated that the ministry has “witness testimony and confirmed info” that NGOs had been serving to Somali asylum seekers journey to Turkey and from there helped organize their crossing to Greece through migrant smuggling networks.
“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 stated, with out offering further particulars.