SYRIAN REFUGEES REMAIN AT RISK OF RETURN TO TURKEY
Two Syrian refugees are the first at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey under the illegal EU-Turkey deal, after their asylum applications were dismissed by the Greek authorities. They remain at risk of return to Turkey.
Syrian refugees, M.F. and J.B. (names withheld for security reasons) have been informed by the Greek authorities that their asylum applications have been declared inadmissible. They are therefore at imminent risk of forced return to Turkey.
Syrian refugees, M.F. and J.B. were informed at the beginning of June that their asylum applications had been dismissed by the Appeals Committee, becoming the first known refugees at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey under the illegal EU-Turkey deal. Both men have challenged the Appeals Committee’s decisions on their asylum application before the Greek courts but this does not guarantee the halt of the deportations.
M.F. was temporarily released from police custody on 1 July. He was informed that the court hearing on his case is set for 30 September. However, on 8 July M.F.’s lawyers were informed that the Greek court has refused to temporarily halt his deportation until the hearing on 30 September, increasing the risk of him being returned to Turkey before then.
J.B. was denied temporary release from police custody on 7 July and remains detained in the Lesvos police station. The court has not decided yet on J.B.’s request to temporarily halt his return to Turkey and no court hearing has been scheduled for his attempt to overturn the Appeals Committees decision. He is also at imminent risk of being returned to Turkey.
Both refugees filed asylum applications before the Greek Asylum Service on their arrival in the Greek island of Lesvos, after the signing of the EU-Turkey deal on 18 March. This deal enables Greece to return asylum-seekers and refugees to Turkey on the assumption that Turkey is safe for them. Both applications were declared inadmissible at first instance and on appeal on the grounds that Turkey is a “safe third country” for the applicants.
Amnesty International’s research has shown that Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers to be returned to. Refugees and asylum seekers, including Syrians, have been forcibly returned from Turkey to their home countries where they are at risk of serious human rights violations. Within Turkey, the vast majority of asylum-seekers and refugees are not granted state support or have the means to support themselves. As a result many live in appalling conditions of poverty.
Urge the greek authorities to halt their return to Turkey and examine the substance of their asylum claims in Greece.
Dear Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Police and Dear Minister for Migration,
Syrian refugees, M.F. and J.B., are currently at imminent risk of forced return to Turkey as national and international legal action by the Greek court does not guarantee the halt of their deportation.
Amnesty International’s research has shown that Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers to be returned to. Refugees and asylum seekers, including Syrians, have been forcibly returned from Turkey to their home countries where they are at risk of serious human rights violations.
I urge you to:
- Ensure that M.F and B.J. are not returned to Turkey and to examine the substance of their asylum claims in Greece;
- Immediately halt the return of all asylum-seekers and refugees to Turkey who would be returned on the grounds that it is safe.