Afghan refugees turned back at Greek border: HRW

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Human Rights Watch’s report indicated that Afghan asylum seekers and migrants are being pushed back summarily to Turkey via the Evros River, in some cases by “non-Greeks” but with Greek police nearby.

HRW interviewed at least 26 Afghans, who have described that they were detained by Greek officials while crossing from Turkey to Greece and then were forced to return to Turkey.

“At the land border with Turkey, 16 people reported that the boats taking them back to Turkey were piloted by non-Greek men who spoke Arabic or South Asian languages common among migrants. They all reported that Greek police were close by when the men loaded the migrants onto small boats. These non-Greek men often wore black or commando-like uniforms in addition to balaclavas to to obscure their identities,” said the report.

“The governments and countries treat refugees based on politics and racial relations, we are witnesses of such behavior in European countries as well,” said Mahdi Afzali, International Relations Expert.

At the same time, several Afghan refugees who made it to Greece by land, claimed they were beaten and returned to Turkey by force.

“Greek police beat us and treated us immorally. They burned our clothes, money and everything and took us to Turkey. I was in bed for one week because of pain and torturing,” said Mubarez Rasooli.

The report of assaults on Afghan migrants in Greece comes as videos of mistreatment and torture of Afghan refugees in the neighboring country of Iran recently appeared on social media, provoking domestic and international reactions.

“The Afghan refugees faced aggressive behavior by either Iranian police and its people in many provinces of Iran, such as Kerman, Lorestan and Yazd,” said an Afghan refugee in Iran.

“We ask all countries to use patience and care with Afghan refugees and to provide them ease,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.—Tolo News

 

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