Greek Coastguard accused of killing ‘over 40’ foreign migrants

An armed member of the Greek Coastguard in 2015. Photo: Stefanos Rapanis, Reuters

A BBC investigation claims members of the Greek Coastguard have killed more than 40 migrants in a series of government-led interceptions of illegal flotillas over the past three years.

  • Among the 40+ so-called “asylum seekers” killed, nine were believed to have died after Greek armed forces physically tossed them into the water.
  • BBC analysis found that many had perished after having been turned back or forced to drift in Greek territorial waters after having already reached dry land on Greek islands.
  • A video of one such incident purports to show 12 migrants being removed from the island of Lesbos, considered an “immigration hotspot.” Athens has rejected any notion of criminal wrongdoing and asserts its Coastguard personnel have acted “in full compliance with the country’s international obligations.”
  • The Greek coastguard previously drew controversy after it successfully halted an illegal immigrant boat carrying 750 migrants from entering Pylos, Greece. The ship reportedly capsized, leaving only 105 survivors.
Still from a video purporting to show 12 migrants intercepted by the Greek Coastguard. They would later die after being left to drift at sea. Photo: BBC.

The big picture: In the past several decades, Europe has faced an ever-escalating migrant crisis, as dozens of nations—including Greece—face an influx of foreigners from the Middle East and Africa.

  • Greece, which is often viewed as a gateway into the European Union, received a whopping 41,561 seabound migrants in 2023. Other EU member states, such as Italy, Malta, Cyprus, and Spain, are also particularly hard hit by illegal entries.
  • EU member states have been forced to employ dangerous-yet-effective ‘stop the boats’ campaigns geared towards intercepting ships whose fighting-age male passengers typically hail from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia.
  • A never-ending stream of migrants and other asylum-seeking hopefuls has reduced the native Greek population from 92.73% in 2001 to 88.8% in 2023, resulting in a 4-point decline.
  • Rapidly changing racial demographics have led to a rise in “far-right” political power in the EU, evidenced by a recent sweep of anti-immigration parties in France and Germany, among others. The current crisis is widely believed to be a byproduct of Conservative governing failures, which has only hastened the “Great Replacement.”

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