Slide Amnesty International UK / Media Awards AWARD CATEGORIES

Illegal refugee pushbacks in Greece

Peter Yeung – The Guardian

Synopsis:

A single-byline investigation published in The Guardian revealing Greece’s systemic practice of illegal “pushbacks”, whereby asylum seekers who arrive on Greek territory are forcibly removed by the coastguard. As the first time it was reported in the newspaper, the investigation involved on-the-ground reporting in Lesbos, interviews with five victims of pushbacks and10 NGOs working across the Aegean Sea, as well as analysis of a tranche of video evidence that was obtained. The investigation also broke news that a German navy supply vessel witnessed two pushbacks, an irrefutable proof of the practice.

Impact:

The Guardian has an estimated UK monthly readership of more than 20 million: https://www.newsworks.org.uk/the-guardian

Around 10 days after the investigation was published, a coalition of 30 NGOs including Human Rights Watch published an open letter condemning illegal pushbacks:https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/06/greece-investigate-pushbacks-violence-borders

The Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee called on Greece to stop pushbacks:https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-s-anti-torture-committee-calls-on-greece-to-reform-its-immigration-detention-system-and-stop-pushbacks

European Parliament debated the issue:https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201126IPR92509/meps-to-grill-frontex-director-on-agency-s-role-in-pushbacks-of-asylum-seekers

I also did some broader reporting on the situation of refugees in Greece:

  1. A report for Vice UK on how a law change was forcing refugees onto the streets of Athens: https://www.vice.com/en/article/935mga/a-change-in-greek-law-has-left-thousands-of-refugees-homeless
  2. A scoop for Al Jazeera revealing fears of lead poisoning at the new refugee camp on Lesbos: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/2/lead-poisoning-greece
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