Reports of shooting incident by Greek border guards must not go unanswered
Today, several media outlets report new evidence that shows that Greek border guards shot at innocent people at the Turkish border in early March. A Pakistani man was killed and several others were wounded when it appears that Greek border guards opened fire with live ammunition, according to the research by Lighthouse Reports, together with Bellingcat, Forensic Architecture and several media outlets. Greece has so far denied any involvement in the incident. The European Commission has previously praised Greece for their actions and ignored questions about the use of force at the border.
Tineke Strik MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee who has seen the footage, comments:
"This investigation shows that Greek border guards fired upon innocent people and that simply cannot go unanswered. Using violence against people who are seeking help is not only a brutal violation of fundamental rights, but it is also the very antithesis of what the EU is about.
"The Greek government, Frontex and the European Commission must clarify exactly what happened and outline what steps they will take to ensure that force is not used against innocent people. The Commission cannot continue to ignore incidents like these on the EU's borders."
Erik Marquardt MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee who has recently returned from Lesvos, comments:
"The situation for refugees and migrants at the external borders is untenable; this shooting is not a single accident; human beings are systematically pushed back at the Greek borders without the possibility to apply for asylum."
"The Commission and Frontex must ensure that the rule of law is upheld and respect for human rights is guaranteed at all the EU's external borders. With all the evidence we have, the Greek government cannot just deny that shootings happen. There must be an independent investigation.”
At the time of the shooting, more than 500 European border and coast guards were stationed on the Greek border. They are obliged to monitor and punish violations of fundamental rights during their operations.
In February, Greens/EFA MEPs Tineke Strik, Erik Marquardt and Saskia Bricmont went on a fact-finding mission to Croatia's border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and to refugee camps, where they confirmed reports of violent returns of asylum seekers and migrants from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.