UNHCR deeply concerned at reports of informal forced returns from Greece to Turkey

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned by continued reports about the alleged push-backs and refoulement at the land border between Greece and Turkey.

“Such allegations of informal forced return have been recorded before, and it is of vital importance that the Greek authorities investigate them thoroughly,” said UNHCR Representative in Greece Philippe Leclerc. “If confirmed, this is extremely worrying. The right to seek and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right.”

UNHCR has raised this issue with the Greek authorities, calling also for preventive measures against such practices, including clear rules of process at the border, independent monitoring mechanisms, and enhanced internal control structures.

UNHCR notes the obligation of States under international law to provide all asylum-seekers with access to asylum procedures and protection from refoulement, or informal forced return.