Over the past few days, people have been killed on the Greek-Turkish border! This situation is the direct consequence of political choices made by European leaders, willing to seal off the European Union’s borders by all means, especially by outsourcing the examination of asylum claims and the encampment of the “undesirable” to non-European states. Every day, unbearable footage shows exiles being turned away or deliberately put in danger.
The Greek police force and army, alongside some of the local population and fascist groups, have deployed unprecedented violence to stop these people from entering Europe. Whether at sea or along the Evros river, border agents are barring the way to vessels - which is leading to shipwrecks - and are shooting into the air, causing injuries and deaths.
Not only has the European Union so far not condemned these extremely serious acts, but it is supporting, even encouraging them: Instead of reminding the Greek authorities that international and European law both prohibit that a person seeking international protection be turned away without his/her situation being examined first, the European Council President has praised Greece’s efforts to ‘protect European borders’; likewise, the European Commission President has referred to Greece as a ‘European shield’, as if an enemy was threatening Europe.
For it’s part, the European agency Frontex is planning to deploy a rapid border intervention which will open a new front in the ’war on migrants’ that has been waged by the EU at its borders for some twenty years.
A recently established coalition of organisations against border violence has announced that complaints will be lodged against Greece and the EU for violating the rights of people fleeing Turkey. States, and the European leaders condoning their actions, must not be permitted to perpetrate such abuse with impunity.
A few days ahead of the 4th anniversary of the shameful EU-Turkey declaration, on the 18th March, we denounce confinement in camps in Greece and violence at the borders, and recall the urgency to protect above all the rights of migrants.
Close the camps and freedom of movement for all !