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Greek coast guard killed migrants with pushbacks: report

BBC investigation has found that Greek coast guards caused the deaths of dozens of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea over a three-year period.

Several witnesses told the BBC that the coast guard forcibly removed at least 40 people from Greek territorial waters or sent those who had reached the island back to sea, throwing at least nine back into the water. Fifteen separate incidents resulted in at least 43 deaths, the investigation found. The Greek authorities denied any wrongdoing.

Human rights groups claim that thousands of people seeking refuge in Europe have been illegally deported from Greece to Turkey and denied the right to seek asylum as protected by international and EU law.

Greece is a popular entryway into Europe for many migrants, and since the beginning of 2024, it has received over 16,000 migrant sea arrivals. In 2023, over 41,500 sea arrivals were recorded. According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, 631 migrants have died at sea since January 2024. The asylum camps in Greece are reported to be chronically overcrowded and under-resourced

Greece is also among several countries accused of wrongfully classifying minor asylum seekers as adults. Between April 2021 and March 2023, there were more than 1,000 age dispute cases, and 37% were found to be children.

For more information on the migrant situation in Greece, read:

We see a long shot of a series of tents. They are all white. In between each tent we see people walking around.

‘This is inexcusable’: What's behind deteriorating conditions in Greek island asylum camps?

While curtailing its alleged practice of illegal pushbacks, the government has failed to prepare for higher arrival numbers.

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