Doctors Without Borders condemns Greece’s treatment, deportations of migrants

A prominent humanitarian group criticized Greece on Thursday for its treatment of asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos, repeating accusations against Turkey of illegal deportations and claiming authorities are weaponizing hunger against some migrants. are being used as

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, said in a statement that the situation For asylum seekers East Aegean island “continually deteriorating.”

It states that “many people there have been subjected to violence and alleged abduction by unknown masked persons, forcing them to leave Greece, arbitrary detentions, and Deprivation of food and shelter”.

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The Greek government has ordered an investigation into claims that a group of migrants was illegally returned to Turkey from Lesbos. Last week’s The New York Times The report claims that the migrants were taken to a Greek coast guard boat that left them in a raft at sea to be picked up by the Turkish coast guard, which returned them to Turkey.

Athens has repeatedly denied allegations that it is involved in such deportations, known as pushbacks. Lesbos is an important landing point for thousands of people seeking a better life in Europe, who cross illegally from Turkey in small boats provided by smuggling gangs.

Doctors Without Borders has condemned the alleged mistreatment of migrants by the Greek government. (Nicolas Economou/Noor Photo via Getty Images)

MSF said on Thursday that fear of pushbacks was preventing many newly arrived migrants from accessing its health services, while others who could not were secretly deported.

“When we are alerted to new arrivals in urgent need of medical assistance, we spend hours – sometimes days – looking for them,” said Nihal Osman, MSF’s Lesbos coordinator. Usman added that since June 2022, MSF has failed to locate 940 people at their reported locations.

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The group also claimed that Greek authorities on May 17 stopped giving food to people who had completed the registration process at the Lesvos center for asylum seekers pending verification of their bids.

“The government is using food to force people to leave the facility,” Osman said. He also described as “dire” conditions at another center where newly arrived refugees are sent for days, saying it was overcrowded and too far away.

There was no immediate comment from the Greek government.

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About a million people reached Greece. From Turkey In 2015, most landings on Lesbos. The numbers later declined, and since 2019 Athens has increased patrols at sea to further reduce arrivals.

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