UN Special Rapporteur Marie Lawler condemned Greece’s immigration policy for focusing on security issues and creating a “climate of fear” among migrants and human rights humanitarian organizations.
The UN Special Rapporteur urged the Greek government to respect these rights.
“Following a 10-day visit to the country, the government’s current approach is defined by its view of immigration as a security and prevention issue,” Lawler said in a statement.
She explained that this approach “created a climate of fear, especially fear of criminalization, among refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and human rights defenders.”
Marie Lawler visited Greece at the invitation of the government from 13 to 22 June to assess the situation of those involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Since her election three years ago, the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis has tightened controls on the country’s border with Turkey with the help of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
The government has repeatedly praised this policy, which has “reduced” the number of migrants arriving in Greece, one of the gateways for asylum seekers in Europe.
However, many media outlets and human rights NGOs accuse the Greek authorities of illegally deporting migrants towards Turkish waters or lands, which Athens has consistently denied.
Lawler said those working to document and prevent deportation “are at the greatest risk,” noting that immigrant rights advocates “are currently under intense pressure.”
— Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights (@MaryLawlorhrds) June 22, 2022