At the border with Turkey, migrants forcibly enlisted by the Greek police to deport other migrants

In the village of Neo Cheimonio, located ten minutes from Evros, the river that separates Greece and Turkey, the refoulement of refugees, a practice contrary to international law, is an open secret. At rush hour, at the café, the inhabitants, well over fifty, evoke the resumption of migratory flows. “Every day we prevent the illegal entry of 900 people”, affirmed, on June 18, the Greek Minister for Civil Protection, Takis Theodorikakos, explaining the increase in migratory pressure exerted by Ankara.

“But we don’t see the migrants. They are locked up, except those who work for the police”, launches a retiree. His sidekick adds: “They live in the containers of the police station and can come and go. You meet them at the river, where they work, or at nightfall when they go shopping. » These new “recruits” of the Greek police have replaced the farmers and fishermen who blocked the road themselves a few years ago, to those they name ” the clandestines “.

“Slaves” of the Greek police

According to the NGOs Human Rights Watch or Josoor, this trend has often returned since 2020 in the testimonies of victims of pushbacks (illegal pushbacks of migrants). Following border tensions in March 2020, when Ankara threatened to let thousands of migrants into Europe, Greek authorities reportedly stepped up the practice to prevent their troops from getting too dangerously close to Turkish territory. , confirm three police officers posted at the border. This forced migrant labor “has political support. No policeman would act alone »adds an officer.

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Athens has always denied resorting to illegal refoulement of refugees. Contacted by The world and its partners, the Greek Ministry of Civil Protection did not respond to our requests.

Over the past few months, The world and its partners from Lighthouse Reports – Der Spiegel, ARD Report Munich et The Guardian, with the help of the “Consolidated Rescue Group” Facebook page – were able to interview six migrants who said they had been the “slaves” of the Greek police, forced to carry out operations of pushback secret and violent. In exchange, these small hands of Greek migration policy have been promised a one-month residence permit allowing them to organize the continuation of their journey to northern Europe.

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