On 29 April 2023, Solomon’s team published an investigation describing how, on 23 January 2023, 10 refugees were forcibly returned from Samos to Turkey in violation of EU and international law. According to the report, a group of 10 asylum seekers arrived on the northeast coast of Samos on the evening of 22 January and contacted a legal NGO on the island to ask for help.
These actions, however, violate international law, as the refoulement of refugees is prohibited by Article 33 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the Geneva Convention.
In February 2022, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi reported that the UNHCR had recorded almost 540 cases of refoulement at the Greek sea and land borders since the beginning of 2020.
In a written response, the Coast Guard said its officers act with respect for the life and human rights of each individual, and that the alleged incident did not take place.
What is the problem with the rule of law? In a state governed by the rule of law, the authorities must not participate in the unlawful refoulement of refugees and migrants from their territory. Rather, in the context of international law, Greece must ensure effective international protection procedures that protect applicants from war, illiberal and undemocratic regimes and other risks in their countries of origin.
As the UNHCR also notes, European law requires that border surveillance measures must be implemented in full compliance with human rights and refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention, while “States must honour their commitments and respect fundamental human rights, such as the right to life and the right to asylum”. However, Solomon’s report shows that the Greek authorities in this case engaged in the unlawful refoulement of 10 refugees in violation of international and EU law.
However, Solomon’s report shows that the Greek authorities in this case engaged in the unlawful refoulement of 10 refugees in violation of international and EU law.
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