Mytilene – Greek and European Union authorities have started to fulfil the deal made with Turkey by sending back at least 200 migrants on Monday. The deportation has been highly criticized by human rights groups.
Three ferries were packed with migrants in a quiet deportation in the morning. Two ferries left from the island of Lesbos and the third one from the island of Chios. Most of the deported were from Pakistan or Afghanistan, as reported by the Washington Post.
However, in the ferries to Turkey there were only two deported Syrians, who had not asked for asylum while being in Greece, the authorities said.
Hours later, the migrants arrived in the Turkish town of Dikili, where they are expected to be assigned a temporary shelter before being transferred to other facilities across the country. According to Turkish authorities, Syrians would be given the option to register for asylum, while refugees from other nations would be sent back home.
Not only small human rights groups have condemned the Turkey-EU deal, which stated that all new migrants who arrived on Greek shore from March 20 onward would be sent back to Turkey, but the United Nations as well.
The deal has been justified as a move to stop Syrians risking their life to cross illegally via smuggler’s rubber raft to Greece while sending the powerful message of “do not even bother”.
The numbers down
Even though the deal is closed and started to being fulfilled, the number of people arriving to Greek shores has slowed down relative trickle but has not ended, according to the New York Times. As the 202 recently sent back were arriving in Turkey, many others were just taking off despite the threat of being sent back after risking their life.
“This is an easy way for Europe to push the problem into its backyard and let others deal with it,” said Panos Navrozidis, country director in Greece for the International Rescue Committee. “It is clearly a political decision. The agreement is illegal, and it is illogical.”
Source: The Washington Post