Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EU border police 'turning blind eye' to abuse of migrants in Greece

September 21, 2011

Europe's fledgling border police force has been knowingly aiding and abetting the serial abuse of migrants during its first major deployment on EU frontiers, Human Rights Watch said.

In a 62-page report on conditions in Greek asylum and detention centres, widely known to be disastrously dysfunctional, the organisation on Wednesday accused Frontex, the EU's external borders agency, of turning a blind eye to the torture, beating, and systematic degradation of illegal migrants detained after crossing the border from Turkey.

"Frontex has become a partner in exposing migrants to treatment that it knows is absolutely prohibited under human rights law," said Bill Frelick, Human Rights Watch's refugee programme director.

The report highlighted appalling conditions in five detention centres in north-east Greece close to the border with Turkey, with males and females herded together in overcrowded cells, allegations of rape, unaccompanied minors also dumped in packed "cages" with adult males.

Beds were scarce, toilet and washing facilities almost nonexistent, medical help rare, and beatings common for protesters.


Read the Report