Migration

REVEALED: Systematic migrant expulsion and drift-backs under Greek PM Mitsotakis

Council member Eyal Weizman on the trove of 1000 cases of ‘illegal and brutal’ expulsions revealed today by Forensic Architecture.
Today, Forensic Architecture has released the largest trove of data on drift-backs by the Greek government in the Aegean Sea, revealing a ’systematic’ and illegal campaign to brutalize and abandon asylum-seekers approaching Greek shores.
Today, Forensic Architecture has released the largest trove of data on drift-backs by the Greek government in the Aegean Sea, revealing a ’systematic’ and illegal campaign to brutalize and abandon asylum-seekers approaching Greek shores.

Our mapping reveals Greece’s Aegean border to Turkey to be a cruel frontier of violence and lawlessness on an unprecedented proportion, and refutes the Greek government's attempts to negate this crime. 

More than a thousand mapped and archived cases show the extent of Greece’s systematic campaign of illegal and brutal expulsion.

On the map that we have produced and released to the public today, you can find stories of entire families — fleeing war and persecution — who have been denied the opportunity to make their case for  refuge and asylum. 

Instead, with the consent of the European Union, Greek authorities have violated international law to prevent their arrivals and abandon them to their fates on the sea. 

This massive and systematic crime is committed with the silent consent of the EU — against its laws and international commitments. Our trove documents 112 cases where Europe’s border agency FRONTEX admits involvement, and 417 where they had direct knowledge of local operations. 

The famous blue waters, wind, and currents of the Aegean — the same sea that draw millions to Greece and its tourist economy — are turned by this government into vectors of population transfer. 

Our investigation documents the way in which the most vulnerable are brutally and arrogantly pushed into boats and then abandoned to the waves that would drown them, or — if they are lucky — carry them to the same Turkish coasts from where they fled. 

Other cases show how entire families are abandoned on deserted rocks like they were criminals. 

But the real criminals are those in power. Regardless of their continuous lies and denial we can now prove for the entire world to see their systemic and deliberate crime. 

The Progressive International refuses to turn a blind eye to these crimes against humanity. We call to tear down Fortress Europe to protect the lives of all refugees — and to hold accountable those who would make the Mediterranean into their graveyard.

Visit: The Map of Drift-Backs on the Aegean Sea.


Eyal Weizman is the founding director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. The author of over 15 books, he has held positions in many universities worldwide including Princeton, ETH Zurich and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and the Centre for Investigative Journalism. In 2019 he was elected life fellow of the British Academy and appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to architecture. In 2020 he was elected the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow at the Bosch Academy.

Image: Gabriel Silveira

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Author
Eyal Weizman
Date
15.07.2022

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