Moria detention centre on Lesbos island this morning
You may recall yesterday’s deportation of 202 migrants from Lesbos and Chios islands in Greece to Turkey, with the assistance of 180 Frontex officers.
The deportations are a part of the €3billion EU/Turkey deal, of which Ireland is contributing €22million.
Last week the Department of Justice announced it will send three case workers from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), and two members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to the Greek islands.
The department said it is also considering a request from Frontex for border guards to assist them with the deportations – even though Ireland is not a member of Frontex.
Last night on RTÉ One’s Drivetime, Lesbos-based journalist Andrew Connolly spoke with Mary Wilson.
Mr Connolly said:
“I’ve just been at the Moria detention centre talking to Pakistanis… based on my conversations with some of them, it’s very, I find it difficult to believe that some of the deportees this morning might have even understood the concept of asylum.
Again it’s being claimed by the Greek authorities and the European Asylum Office and also the UNHCR they seem to be satisfied that everyone was told their rights but they didn’t claim asylum in Greece.”
Further to this, Patrick Kingsley, in The Guardian reports this afternoon that the UN has told how 13 of the 202 deported yesterday may not have been given the opportunity to seek asylum before they were deported – as police officers “forgot”.
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek asylum. Mr Kingsley reports:
Some of the first people to be deported from Greece under the terms of the EU-Turkey migration deal may not have been given the chance to claim for asylum, the UN refugee agency has said.
Police “forgot” to process the asylum claims of 13 of the 202 asylum seekers sent back to Turkey on Monday, the first day the deal was put into practice, according to Vincent Cochetel, director of UNHCR’s Europe bureau.
… Cochetel said on Tuesday that 13 Afghans and Congolese asylum seekers – who reached the Greek island of Chios after 20 March, and who were deported back to Turkey on Monday – were not allowed to formally register their asylum claims, due to administrative chaos on the island.
… Cochetel told the Guardian: “For four days after the 20th, the Greek police did not register any intention to seek asylum as they were no prepared [or] equipped for this, so we started providing forms to people who had declared their intention to seek asylum.”
“The police received most of the people with these forms and … forgot some apparently. It is more a mistake than anything else, we hope.”
…On Monday, more asylum seekers landed in Greece from Turkey (228) than were deported in the opposite direction (202).
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew will visit Greek island Lesbos next week #refugees
— Vasilis Dalianis (@VasilisDalianis) April 5, 2016
— Julián Miglierini (@julianmig) April 5, 2016
Listen back to Drivetime interview in full here
Pic: Andrew Connolly