PRESS RELEASE: INTERIM MEASURES GRANTED FOR 49 TURKISH AND SYRIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ON A GREEK ISLET IN THE EVROS RIVER. GREECE YET TO COMPLY.

On the 16th August at 06.26 EEST, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) was alerted to a group of Syrian and Turkish asylum seekers stranded on an islet in the Evros river close to Didymoteicho, in Greek territory. The Syrian nationals of the group stated that they were seeking asylum due to the war in their country which has placed them at risk of serious physical harm, and the Turkish nationals are from the Kurdish minority and therefore at risk of persecution in Turkey. They reported that they had been stuck on the islet since the 14th August 2022. The group includes nine women, 16 children and eight individuals who are particularly vulnerable and require medical attention. One is four months pregnant, two are asthmatic, one is diabetic and suffers from high blood pressure, another suffers from high blood pressure, two of the children are having difficulty breathing, and another child has a severe visual impairment. We immediately relayed this information to the competent authorities: the Hellenic Police, Frontex, the Ombudsperson, the National Human Rights Institution, and UNHCR. Our operatives on the ground called the emergency 112 line at 18.23 EEST on 16th August who assured us that they were aware of the group and a search and rescue (SAR) operation was underway. The following morning, on 17th August at 09.27 EEST the group again shared their live location which showed them on the islet, stating that nobody had approached the islet the previous evening or over the night.

 

URGENT UPDATE: Briefing on the continuous violations of the rule of law in Greece as people still stranded on islet in Evros

On the 27th July, BVMN published a briefing which detailed an update on the situation at the Evros border, specifically regarding pushbacks in the month of July. At the time of writing, one emerging case was detailed which involved a large transit group who had been stranded on an islet for over ten days, despite being granted interim measures.

The following briefing provides an update on the critical situation for the same transit group who have been stranded on an islet in the Evros river and violently pushed back and forth between Greece and Turkey over a period of three weeks. Despite the ECtHR indicating a Rule 39 measure mandating the Greek state to carry out search and rescue operations, as well as provide medical support, access to Greek territory and food and water, the group remains on the islet today in a severely deteriorating condition. Alarmingly, the transit group reported that a young 5-year-old girl died in the early hours of 9th August 2022, as well as a 9-year-old girl being in urgent need of medical care. BVMN joins the Greek Council of Refugees and Human Rights 360 to urgently call upon the Greek authorities to carry out search and rescue and provide the transit group access to their fundamental rights. The briefing further makes recommendations to the European Commission to hold Greece accountable for such violations.