Council of Europe: Greece must end collective expulsions

Greece's collective expulsion of migrants could violate international law and the UN Refugee Convention.

Council of Europe: Greece must end collective expulsions

World Bulletin / News Desk

The expulsion of migrants from Greece, influcing large numbers of Syrian refugees, and allegations of ill-treatment of migrants by Greek border authorities raises serious human rights concerns according to the Council of Europe (COE).

In a letter sent to the Greek government in December but released on Tuesday Nils Muižnieks, the COE's Commissioner for Human Rights, said: "I call on the Greek authorities to carry out effective investigations into all recorded incidents and take all necessary measures in order to end and prevent recurrence of such practices.”

Muižnieks noted the recent adoption of legislative measures aimed at protecting migrants’, including minors’, access to health and social care in initial reception centres. However, he also emphasised that collective expulsions of foreign nationals violate international and European human rights law and raise very serious issues of compatibility with the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, enshrined in the UN Refugee Convention, by which Greece is bound.

“Collective expulsions of migrants are also ineffective, given that people facing desperate situations cannot really be prevented from migrating. To uphold its human rights obligations, Greece has to radically change its migration policy and practice," he said.

"This is all the more necessary now that Greece has taken on additional responsibilities by holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. I therefore welcome as a first positive step the Greek authorities’ ongoing investigations on push-backs and alleged ill-treatment of migrants, as well as their commitment to share with me the outcome of these investigations.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Ocak 2014, 17:59