[WATCH] Amnesty urges EU to step in at Greece-Turkey border

Amnesty International reacts to shocking footage of a Greek coastguard boat dangerously sailing past a dinghy with asylum seekers on board and forcing them to return back by firing warning shots

In the video a coastguard officer aboard a large dinging is seen waving his arms at the boat full of migrants before prodding them with a large stick
In the video a coastguard officer aboard a large dinging is seen waving his arms at the boat full of migrants before prodding them with a large stick
Amnesty urges EU to step in at the Greece-Turkey border

Amnesty International is calling on EU member states to step in and address the situation unfolding at the Greece-Turkey border, ahead of an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council set to take place on Wednesday.

Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, Eve Geddie said that what the public was witnessing at the Greece-Turkey border was a “crisis of humanity” of Europe’s own making.

A video released by the Turkish authorities earlier this week appeared to show Greek coastguard officers attempting to capsize a boat full of migrants at sea. 

The footage was shared alongside claims by Turkish authorities that the Greek coast guard was harassing refugee boats by firing warning shots and intimidating them with boat hooks.  

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the press that Europe would have to accept the “burden” of “millions” of incoming migrants after it opened its borders to allow them passage to Europe.

In the video a coastguard officer aboard a large dinghy is seen waving his arms at the boat full of migrants before prodding them with a large stick – shots were also fired into the water sometime later.

“The protection of refugees is not something that countries can duck out of when they choose. Greece must uphold the right to asylum and the EU must support them to do that. The right to claim asylum is non-negotiable,” Geddie said. 

Geddie said that the European institutions have been quick to express solidarity with Greece, but have failed to extend that solidarity to asylum seekers and migrants who are in grave need of protection.

“Those people came to Europe seeking safety and have been violently denied their rights. Ministers meeting today need to condemn any excessive use of force against people, including NGO workers and journalists at the land or sea borders between Greece and Turkey,” she said.

Geddie said that EU member states could help alleviate the situation by helping Greece manage asylum requests provide proper reception facilitates and relocate asylum seekers to other countries.

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