EU lawmakers slam European Commission for silence on illegal Greek pushbacks
Reactions were directed to Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, and the bloc's Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, during a meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Commenting on a footage brought to light by The New York Times on May 19, showing pushback of migrants by Greek forces, lawmakers said the case would likely be covered up by Greece. The incident took place on 11 April, according to the publication.
The damning video, recorded on the island of Lesvos, revealed the pushbacks Athens has been denying since long. It showed 12 migrants, including children and a 6-month-old infant, being transported by a van to a nearby remote area where they were forcefully seen boarding a high-speed inflatable boat.
They were later transferred to a Greek Coast Guard vessel before being abandoned on a floating boat in the middle of the Aegean Sea and set adrift until they were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard.
Dutch MP Sophie in 't veld said the footage is clear and leaves no room for further investigation.
Global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants.