Italy forcibly returning asylum seekers to Greece, an Investigation revealed

Asylum seekers looking for shelter in Europe have been illegally forced to leave Italy and locked up in unofficial prisons at sea, according to an investigation conducted by researchers from Netherlands-based investigative non-profit Lighthouse Reports and other media partners.

The joint Investigation published this week uncovered evidence of an illicit practice known as “pushbacks” against adult refugees and migrants as well as children who were made to suffer inhumane conditions as they were transported from Italy to Greece.

Nationals from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq described being detained without formal authorisation on board commercial ferries operating routes between the two countries over the past year. They said they were held in dark metal boxes and small rooms without food or water, sometimes for more than a day, as they were shipped back to Greece after being caught trying to reach Italy’s Adriatic ports of Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi.

Among those forcibly returned were children. At least three cases were verified of people under 18 being taken back to Greece. Official Greek data show that more than 230 people in total have been returned from Italy in the previous two years. The true figure may be higher, because pushbacks are not always documented by authorities, rights groups have said.

Related Articles

Back to top button