In a letter sent on 27 April 2021 to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, five Greek civil society organisations request the Commission’s assessment of compliance by Greece with procedural requirements attached to the non-refoulement principle and obligations to provide access to asylum at its land and sea borders.
Despite the denial of all push back allegations over the past year as ‘fake news’, the Greek authorities have not demonstrated up to now what steps they take to identify the people intercepted upon their attempt to enter Greece, and to provide them with the opportunity to raise potential risks of refoulement prior to being directed to Turkey.
The organisations recall the procedural obligations imposed by EU law, namely Regulation 656/2014 on sea operations, and under the Asylum Procedures Directive on registration of applications and information and interpretation services in border areas. To the knowledge of civil society, Greece has not set up the necessary infrastructure and personnel in any of the official border crossing points or detention facilities in the Aegean Sea or the Evros land border.
The letter is signed by Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), HIAS Greece, HumanRights360 and the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR).