Several NGOs and media have recently pointed fingers at Greek and Croatian officials for allegedly pushing back illegal migrant pushbacks reaching their territory, which has led the European Union’s executive to call for a profound investigation in this regard.
A recent report published by German media Der Spiegel and ARD showed that officials in Greek and Croatia were involved in such illegal operations while it stressed that special forces from both countries sometimes concealed their identity during these operations, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
As reported by the Guardian, such a report had video footage of a total of 11 pushbacks by Croatian police officials into Bosnia and Herzegovina and also footage of the Greek coast guard pushing migrants back to the Aegean Sea.
Regarding the issue, a spokesman for the executive European Commission has stressed that an investigation should be initiated.
“The Commission strongly opposes any pushback practices and has repeatedly emphasised that any such practices are illegal, and the national authorities have the responsibility to investigate any allegations, with a view to establishing the facts and to properly follow up on any wrongdoing,” he pointed out.
The Interior Minister of Croatia, Davor Bozinovic, told German media that the police would conduct an investigation; however, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) has published a video on Twitter stressing that there is overwhelming evidence that Croatia is involved in illegal pushbacks; therefore, it must not join Schengen.
Croatia has been part of the European Union since 2013. However, it has been attempting to join the borderless area of Schengen for years now, which process has not been finalised yet.
Regarding the illegal migrant pushback, authorities in Greece stressed that they would soon publish a statement in this regard. In addition, they emphasised that under international law, all persons have the right to claim international protection and are forbidden to send potential asylum seekers back to where their lives might be in danger.
The European Union’s Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, said that “some of these reports are shocking,” stressing that she expected a profound investigation on the issue.
As reported by Reuters, Johansson would meet the Greek and Croatian interior ministers, urging them to “take the matter very seriously”.
The migrant and refugee issue continues to bring many difficulties for European Union countries, while up to this point, there has not been any effective solution to such a problem.
Previously, some EU authorities unfolded the idea to build additional camps for refugees in order to solve this problem, even though such places have often been infamous for many illegal affairs, including beating, sexual assaults and even refugee murders.