Joint letter from  IRC and 255 organisations to the leaders in Greece and the EU, expressing concern about recent developments at the Evros border and the Aegean islands. 

We call upon the Greek Government to:

  • Respect its obligations concerning the protection of human life and rescue at sea and at the land borders.
  • Immediately stop returning people to states where their lives and freedom are at risk.
  • Immediately alleviate overcrowding on the islands by relocating asylum seekers to the mainland, giving priority should be given to the most vulnerable
  • Take the necessary measures to protect every person from acts of violence, victimization and racism.

The letter also calls on EU leaders:

  • The European Commission should protect the right to asylum as enshrined in EU law. Therefore, it should reverse the “aspida (shield)” rhetoric used by Greece and urge it to assume its legal obligations.
  • EU Member States should re-establish immediately the mechanisms for the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers from Greece to other Member States, in a fair and rational manner, with priority given to unaccompanied children. EU Member States should increase resettlement of refugees directly from Turkey.
  • EU Member States and institutions should revise the EU-Turkey Statement, which –in addition to legal lacunae– has now proven to be an unpredictable and unsustainable political tool for border management.