Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) points out that so far this year they have provided urgent medical assistance to more than 570 migrants on the Greek island of Samos, most of whom claim to have been victims of hot returns and physical violence by the Greek authorities, according to a statement issued this Wednesday by the international organization.
All the people to whom MSF provided emergency medical and psychological support arrived in Samos from the nearby Turkish coast, and many of them reported having been victims or witnesses of physical violence, inhuman and degrading treatment including beatings, body searches, forced genital examinations, theft of belongings and being left adrift in motorless boats at sea,” according to the statement.
Although MSF indicates that it has not been a direct witness to these practices, it emphasizes that “the medical consultations and the testimonies collected suggest violent border practices.” According to the organization, the majority of migrants arriving on this island in the eastern Aegean, many of whom are women and children“they flee and hide when they reach land, terrified of being caught by the authorities and be forcibly returned”, and give the example of a woman who gave birth in the open and without medical assistance after apparently spending more than two days in hiding on Samos.
The suffocating situation of migrants in the Greek islands
In April, the organization provided medical care to a group who fell off a cliff while fleeing from border authorities. “I remember the fear in the eyes of a young Cameroonian who hugged me, while he told me: ‘Please don’t send us back’. It is evident that this was the first concern of his, “says Nikolas Papajrisostomugeneral coordinator of MSF in Greece, according to the statement.
Another migrant reported to the organization that she had been returned up to nine times, while Loretta (not her real name), a former MSF patient, said that, after arriving in Samos, the authorities took her along with other migrants to a building where they got beat up.
Greece denies that it violates human rights on the borders with Turkey
2They began to slap me, the men, the lady who was pregnant, everyone. They didn’t care. They beat us with a stick and with their feet“, Loretta stressed to the organization. Of the 570 people to whom Doctors Without Borders provided emergency medical and psychological assistance, 24 were pregnant women.
the german weekly Der Spiegel and the French newspaper Le Monde revealed at the end of July the results of a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which provides evidence that Greece has made hot returns in the Eastern Aegean and that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) helped cover up and even finance them.
the hellenic government denies accusations that it violates human rights on the borders with Turkey and stresses that Greece protects its borders and those of Europe strictly complying with international laws.